ISD 709 News 8/20/20
From John Magas, Superintendent
Dear ISD 709 Families,
This week we shared an update with the board and public regarding current COVID planning efforts. This Board & Community Update slide presentation is posted on the Return to Learn website and, if you have time, you can view the entire presentation at the Board meeting.
We also continue to update the Return to Learn Frequently Asked Questions section of the website with new information as it becomes available.
Being in period of uncertainty is one of our greatest challenges. Our Duluth Public Schools staff are working each day to plan and prepare for the start of school. Providing individuals with as much current information as possible to answer the questions you have is a top priority at this time.
In a dynamic and challenging situation, we appreciate your patience.
With sincerity and gratitude,
If you have questions or thoughts, please email ReturnToLearn@ISD709.org
2020 Return to Learn Resources
Mask Up, Minnesota Information
As of July 25, 2020 per an Executive Order from Governor Walz, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and businesses, unless alone or exempted.This includes Duluth Public Schools.
Masks are required in school and on buses for all who wish to attend school in person (unless exempt).
The Minnesota Department of Education will be providing all staff and students with a reusable, washable face covering to start the school year. It is encouraged that families and staff obtain additional face coverings as needed.
Thank you for taking this important step to protect yourself and those in our schools.
Distance Learning 2.0 means students use a digital platform to learn from home. This is completely different from the emergency model used last spring, which focused on packets that could be delivered digitally or on paper. Families will be provided with an orientation to the new learning platforms and other information to help support student learning at home.
Both systems are robust, engaging and easy to navigate. Teachers will have ongoing training and support to provide their content through both systems. Teachers will be able to use the learning platforms to provide students with video instruction, help students participate in interactive activities and assignments, take tests, talk with each other in discussion groups and much more.
What technology will families need?
We recommend some type of computer with keyboard. It is possible but more difficult to participate with a smart phone. If a family is going to purchase a device, find an inexpensive Chromebook which is easiest to use and manage. Any laptop, desktop, or tablet with a keyboard will also work
What if a family doesn’t have access to the internet?
Duluth Public Schools will be working with PC’s for People to assist in distributing hot spots to families without access to reliable wi-fi. Hot Spot application information will be shared the week of August 24 for distribution on Sept. 3 & 4. Community partners and organizations are working to provide more internet accessibility throughout the City of Duluth. More information will be posted on the DIstrict’s Return to Learn web pages.
What if a family doesn’t have a device/technology to access the internet?
Families will be asked to use available personal devices and desktops for digital learning engagement when students are not at school buildings. Duluth Public Schools has invested in 1,500 more Chromebooks to be used to maintain 1 device for every 2 students in families, and the District will begin to move towards a 1 to 1 device inventory. Requests for District devices to be used for digital learning will happen at the building level.
General Cleaning Protocols for Schools
MDH and CDC recommend routine cleaning and disinfection occur to assist in prevention of the virus spread.
Two times daily cleaning of high touch surfaces. ISD 709 uses Oxivir wipes which have a 1-minute kill time.
Two times daily cleaning of common areas including bathrooms, cafeterias, and gyms.
Cleaning kits will be provided in every classroom to address daily needs by classroom staff.
Thorough cleaning of building spaces on a nightly basis as outlined by the CDC and MDH.
Employees are asked to help by wiping/disinfecting their personal workspaces and electronics at least once each day.
Families Encouraged to Apply for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
There's no difference between students who receive free/reduced price lunch and those who don't. All children use the school lunchroom keypad to input their student number when receiving meals.
Applying for free or reduced-price lunch is easy and confidential.
Apply online at www.paypams.com/onlineapp, it's safe, secure, convenient, available 24/7.
OR hard copy forms are available from the school office, from the Child Nutrition Office or download an Application for free and reduced meals.
- Qualifying for free or reduced price lunch may also qualify families to pay a lower fee or no fee for school activities.
- Students who qualify take the ACT Test at school for free.
- Families who qualify are helping Duluth schools receive additional education funds and discounts.
- Children in households participating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and foster children can get free school meals without reporting household income.
- Also, children can get free or reduced price meals if their household income is within the income shown for the household size on the instructions.
A new application must be submitted each school year. Approval for school meals is good for the school year.
Questions about Free or Reduced Price meals? Please call us at 218-336-8807, we're happy to help!
ISD 709 News
A beautiful evening for a neighborhood get together, hosted by the Duluth Community Schools Collaborative. The event required masks and social distancing - even so, lots of warm conversation and smiling eyes. Free grab and go meals, giveaways, opportunities to learn about parent leadership, the Education Equity Alliance, Duluth NAACP and more. Also a chance to meet and talk with new Denfeld Principal Tom Tusken, Assistant Principal Joanna Walters, Superintendent John Magas, Assistant Superintendent Anthony Bonds, Board members Jill Lofald and Alanna Oswald.
Denfeld High School, Lincoln Park Middle School and Myers-Wilkins Elementary are Duluth Community Schools.
Student Athletes Adjust to "Unique" Fall Season
Denfeld boy's soccer coach Scott Anderson instructed his players to stay six feet apart as they met near midfield at historic Public Schools Stadium during their first preseason workout this week. The Hunters, led by senior forward Keegan Chastey, expect to field one of their best teams in several years this fall.
“We’re dividing our players into four pods," said Anderson. "They’ll socially distance when they’re off the field and use masks when they’re coming and going, all those little things that we’ve got to do. It’s all certainly unique, unexpected, but at the same time we’re just happy to be here, happy to be outside on beautiful summer days and kicking the ball around.”