Raider Update

A Weekly eNewsletter from Hastings Public Schools

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November 8, 2020

Message from the Superintendent

Hello Raider Families,

When we began this school year, we made a commitment to continue in our hybrid learning model as long as possible. We’ve been diligent to watch the data and have consistently shared COVID-19 factors that could create a need for us to shift learning models.

Both Dakota County and the Hastings community, like much of the state, are seeing rapidly changing, exponential increases in COVID-19 cases. We have met with our Regional Support Team, and with our extended Incident Command Team to review the latest data related to COVID-19 in our community and schools. Our groups have reached consensus that it is time for a shift to a more restrictive learning model.

After reviewing the data we have made the following decisions:

  • Secondary students in grade 5-12 will shift to Distance Learning (DL) Wednesday, November 18. (The last day of hybrid instruction will be November 13.)

  • Elementary students (K-4), will shift to Distance Learning Monday, November 30th. (The last day of hybrid instruction will be November 20.)

  • These moves will last through at least December 22nd.

  • In all scenarios, Emergency Childcare will continue.

  • Given any unexpected increases in COVID rates or staff shortages, the timeline could be accelerated.

Transition Days:

  • For the Secondary November 18th DL start

    • November 16 and 17: Non-school days for secondary Hybrid students (Hastings Online Academy will continue without disruption). Per the Minnesota Department of Education guidelines, the district is encouraged to provide teacher transition days.

    • November 25 continues to be a professional development day for teachers.

  • For the Elementary November 30th DL start

    • November 23: No school for all elementary students- professional development day (shifted from November 25).

    • November 24 and 25: Non-school days for all elementary students. Per the Minnesota Department of Education guidelines, the district is encouraged to provide teacher transition days.

This decision was made for the following reasons:

  • The state recommends a more restrictive learning model when the positivity rate hits 30 per 10,000 in the county. Our rate is 33.4 and projected to be between the high 40s and low 50s next week, with continued increases the week after that.

  • We continue to see increases in positive COVID-19 cases in our Hastings community and projections show continued high numbers; new cases of COVID-19 in Hastings have almost doubled in the last week.

  • Positive cases jumped two weeks after MEA break, and health officials are expecting another increase after Thanksgiving break.

  • Significant spread is considered when the rate of positive cases reaches 5%; we are at 8.1%.

  • The number of school staff COVID-related absences have doubled in the past week. And, the number of students out due to COVID related situations or symptoms continues to rise.

  • We remain committed to being prudent in making a shift in our learning model. Delaying the elementary transition allows for continued monitoring of the data and gives families time to prepare for the change for their children.

What this means for Families:

  • The Hastings Learning Model will shift to Distance Learning (DL) in the timelines described above; Secondary Hastings Online Academy students will continue with no interruption.

  • Students who require center-based special education services will move to DL according to the student’s Contingency Learning Plan. Special Education staff will evaluate COVID data after two weeks, and assess when it would be safe for students and staff to return for in-person learning opportunities.

  • English Learners, students experiencing homelessness, students in foster care and students who are struggling academically will be evaluated to determine the best ways to meet their specific needs through DL.

  • Meals for all students will be provided through delivery to bus routes.

  • Community Education activities, building permit rentals and secondary athletics will continue at this time. Changes will be made and communicated depending on circumstances.

Free COVID Testing

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Dakota Child and Family Clinic and the Northern Service Center.

Thank you for your continued patience, support, and understanding as we move through these complicated and unprecedented times. We will continue to review the latest data and communicate adjustments and changes as they arise.

Winter-Weather Kids Campus Update

Weather-Related Closure:

We apologize for an error in a previous Raider Update related to weather related closures. If school is canceled or closed due to any weather-related condition, Kids’ Campus in all its forms will not run. There is NO option for all-day care on weather-related closures at this time.

2 Hour Delay:

If, for any weather-related reason, the school day has a delayed start, Kids’ Campus in the mornings will be CANCELED. Mid-Day care at the Middle School will BEGIN at the same time as the schools--so Middle School at 10:00 and Elementary at 11:40. It is our understanding this scenario will most likely NOT be used this year, as a 2 hour delay cuts the school day nearly in half.

Early Closing:

If, for weather related reasons, the school day is cut short, Kids’ Campus will be CANCELED. Students will need to get home via alternative method at the time the school closes. This is the same for mid-day care as well--students will need to be picked up from Mid-Day care at the same time the schools are being released.

Here is the link to the full policy:

Budget Adjustments

This past week, the school board held the fourth work session focused on budget adjustments for the 2021-2022 school year. The video of this discussion can be found on the HCTV Facebook page, and the slide deck presentation is posted to our website. On November 18th, the school board will hear the finalized budget options report which is a culmination of the process that began in August. They will ultimately make up to $1.7 million in decisions to keep our budget balanced.

Learning Model Change Request

The registration window to shift learning models for semester 2 will be open until November 10. Please fill out the form linked below only if you intend to make a change to your current learning model. You may choose for your student(s) to move:

  • From the district's learning model to Hastings Online Academy (HOA) or
  • From HOA to the district's learning model

Learning Model Change Form

As a reminder, the district's learning model could be face to face, hybrid or distance learning depending on COVID infection rates. Hastings Online Academy is our fully online program.

There is no need to fill out this form if you intend for your student to stay in their current model for second semester.

Hastings Public Schools

The Hastings School District consists of approximately 4,300 students. The district includes the following sites:

  • Hastings High School (9-12)
  • Hastings Middle School (5-8)
  • Christa McAuliffe Elementary (K-4)
  • JFK Elementary (K-4)
  • Pinecrest Elementary K-4)
  • Tilden Community Center
  • Hastings Alternative Learning Center