From Spring Lake Park Schools

Update to Families - October 23, 2020

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Transitioning grades 7-12 to distance learning

Spring Lake Park Schools Families:

Since I last updated you before fall break, we have continued to see increasing COVID-19 activity in Anoka County. This morning, based on the latest information and direction from state and county officials, we made the tough decision to begin the process of transitioning students in grades 7-12 to distance learning (SLP Extended Flexible Learning). This model will include some necessary in-person instruction and the continuation of activities and athletics.

Public health situation and direction

In yesterday’s official report from Minnesota Department of Health, Anoka County cases exceeded 30 cases per 10,000 residents for the first time at 33.16. The data in this report is two weeks old. Daily case rates over the last two weeks show elevated numbers with no decreases in sight.

Yesterday, we met with officials from Anoka County public health, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education and other school districts in the county. Unlike other counties with identifiable outbreaks at specific businesses or locations, Anoka County is currently experiencing wide community spread, the third fastest growing spread in the state at this time. Because of this, the recommended direction provided to Anoka County school districts was to move to distance learning for grades 7-12.

We continue to have very few cases within our schools and had hoped to remain in our current model. However, after yesterday’s meeting about the public health situation, we feel compelled to follow the direction provided and align with the state’s safe learning plan to move grades 7-12 to distance learning (SLP Extended Flexible Learning). Each of the neighboring districts in Anoka County are following a similar plan and implementing distance learning for grades 7-12 and maintaining hybrid models in elementary grades.

Transition plan for grades 7-12

As we have tracked the rising numbers, we have also been proactively planning for a successful transition. Students in grades 7-12 currently attending in the Modified Campus (hybrid) model, will transition to distance learning over the next week and half. This provides students, teachers and families with time to prepare:

  • Monday, Oct. 26 - Friday, Oct. 30 – Students will follow their current hybrid schedules. Students will come to school on their scheduled Group A and Group B days. They will have an opportunity to take home anything they need before distance learning begins.
  • Monday, Nov. 2 – Wednesday, Nov. 4 – Teachers will use these three days to fully transition learning online. Students will use this time to finish assignments.
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 – Students in grades 7-12 will resume classes in the distance learning (SLP Extended Flexible Learning) model.
  • More information will be provided to grade 7-12 families in your school’s newsletter on October 28 and November 4.

We’ve also been working with MDH and MDE to modify our distance learning plans and allow key in-person activities to continue.

  • Students will be able to come to school for necessary in-person instruction. Unlike the spring, when our buildings were shut down, we are making plans for students to come in for labs, hands-on learning, targeted help and other services. Over this next week, we will solidify these plans.
  • We are planning to continue with athletics and activities. Students and families may choose to participate in athletics and activities as they feel comfortable. Athletics will follow Minnesota State High School League health and safety guidelines. This allows things like the school play to continue as well.

Monitoring for additional transitions

We plan to remain in a distance learning model for grades 7-12 until the end of the trimester (Dec. 4) to provide continuity. We will continue to monitor case rates closely and communicate a plan for the start of the second trimester no later than the week of November 30. It would be our hope that these numbers turn around, and we can consider a shift back to the Modified Campus (hybrid) model for grades 7-12 in time for a trimester transition.

At this time, there are no changes for families of students in grades K-6 attending in Modified Campus (hybrid) model. The guidance continues to direct younger students to remain in school. We would consider a transition for K-6 if we were to near the threshold of 50 cases per 10,000. We certainly hope that is not needed.

These are certainly not the decision points any of us want. We remain hopeful we can address the spread of this virus as a community and get back to learning at school together. In the meantime, we will work to provide a positive experience in whatever format, and we are grateful for your support, patience and partnership.

Thank you,

Jeff Ronneberg Ed.D.


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