Plans to return preK-6 to school

Update to Families - January 7, 2021

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Spring Lake Park Schools Families:

Before winter break, all Minnesota schools received the state’s updated Safe Learning Plan with guidance for re-opening schools for younger students. Today, I have some important updates for families about our plans to transition students in grades preK-6 to full-time learning at school beginning Thursday, January 21.

For grades 7-12, the state’s direction continues to use county-level infection rates as the foundation for decision-making. We have pushed for an early February transition to Modified Campus (hybrid) for 7-12, but we have been directed by the regional support team that Anoka County numbers must dip below the threshold of 30 cases per 10,000 residents.

We will be monitoring case rates and meeting again with the regional support team later this month in anticipation of transitioning grades 7-12 to hybrid learning as early in February as possible. Expect another update by January 22.

The preK-6 transition

We are working toward transitioning students in preK-6 to learning at school five days per week beginning January 21. We are planning for this transition with your child’s current learning model choice in mind:

  • If your child was attending school in the Modified Campus Schedule (hybrid) model before we all transitioned to distance learning, we are planning for them to come to school five days a week beginning January 21.
  • If you had selected the Extended Flexible Learning (distance) model for your student, we are planning for you to continue with distance learning at this time.
  • If you would like to request a change to your child’s current learning model, please reach out to your school’s main office to make any requests by Monday, January 11. Please note changes to the chosen learning model will result in changes in your child’s teacher and classmates. We will do everything we can to honor requests at the time of transition. The next opportunity to request a change will be the week of February 22 for the third trimester.

To make this transition as seamless as possible:

  • January 19-20 (Tuesday, Wednesday): There will be no school for all students in grades preK-6. This includes students in Extended Flexible Learning (distance learning) by choice. These planning days are required by the state and are necessary to support teachers in the transition. (January 18 is the MLK holiday and no school for all students.)
  • January 21 (Thursday): Students in grades preK-6 will return to learning at school. Families who have chosen Extended Flexible Learning (distance learning) will continue learning in that model as school resumes January 21.

Updated health and safety measures

The state’s updated guidance for prek-6 reflects what has been learned about how COVID-19 spreads between adults and younger children. We must follow all of the recommendations and will keep many of our other mitigation strategies in place. These include:

  • Requiring face masks for students and staff at all times indoors (except while eating). Masks will not be required outside.
  • Requiring that students maintain a 3-foot distance from each other at all times (previously it was 6 feet). This allows for increased capacity in physical spaces (was previously 50 percent capacity).
  • Requiring teachers maintain a 6-foot distance from students and other adults and having face shields and plexiglass barriers for teachers and staff in addition to masks.
  • Making onsite COVID-19 testing available every two weeks for teachers and staff who work directly with students.

Transportation and childcare

With any transition in learning models, there are often questions about and implications for families related to transportation and childcare:

  • Transportation: If your student has been riding the bus, most bus routes will continue without changes. Check Campus Parent Portal starting January 14 to confirm bus stop times. Postcards also will be mailed. With this change in model, capacity restrictions on buses for grades preK-6 have been lifted. Mask wearing is required as is maintaining 6 feet of distance from the driver. Seating charts will also be in place.
  • Childcare: Learning Ventures before and after school childcare will also be available. Find more information on their Learning Ventures website.

More information about the preK-6 transition will be coming to families from your child’s school and teachers in the coming days. We very much anticipate welcoming our youngest learners safely back to our classrooms and hallways. We begin this new year with hope that the day is not long off when we welcome ALL students back to learning safely at school.

Happy New Year!

Jeff Ronneberg, Ed.D.


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