Transitioning Elementary Schools to Full-Time In-Person Learning
We remain committed to striving to meet the needs of all students as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for schools. On December 22, Superintendent Baumann announced a transition timeline to bring elementary students back to a full-time, in-person learning model five days a week beginning January 25. Following recent updates to the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan that prioritize in-person learning for young learners, elementary grades will transition back to in-person learning in two phases.
• The last day of Distance Learning for K-2 will be January 20.
• Jan. 21-22 will be non-school days for grades K-2 to allow teachers and staff time to prepare for the transition.
• The last day of Distance Learning for grades 3-5 will be Feb. 3
• Feb. 4-5 will be non-school days for grades 3-5 to allow teachers and staff time to prepare for the transition.
*Non-school days: As a reminder, during non-school days, no additional work will be assigned to students and no live classes will be held.
- Students and staff must complete a health self-check every morning before coming to school and before participating in extracurricular activities. If your student is experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please keep them at home and call your school to report your student’s absence.
- All students must wear a face covering at all times on school transportation and at school, except for during meals and at outdoor recess; Staff will wear face coverings and face shields when around students and other adults.
- Students must maintain 3 feet of distance from other students, whenever possible. Staff must maintain 6 feet of distance between students, whenever possible.
- Students will be kept in the same groups whenever possible with limited movement. Seating charts will be utilized on buses and in school buildings to support with contact tracing.
- School building access will continue to be restricted for visitors, volunteers and large group events/gatherings
- Schools will reinforce frequent and good hand hygiene during the school day and provide hand sanitizer at entrances/exits, in classrooms and in cafeterias
- Our school nurses will continue to contact trace positive cases of COVID-19. It remains important that all families have contingency plans in the event a student or classroom needs to quarantine or the entire school needs to transition unexpectedly.
We continue to work with our state and local public health experts to determine the most appropriate learning model for the health and safety of our students and staff, while providing a quality education. We continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions for our secondary schools, which will remain in a distance learning model at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please review this FAQ with your family prior to returning to school.
In order to safely transition to a hybrid or in-person learning model, the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education require schools to implement a ‘rolling start’ process in which students will gradually be brought back into school buildings. No more than three grades can be introduced into the building within a two-week time period when implementing an in-person learning model for the entire school building. In-person learning for grades K-2 will begin on January 25 and grades 3-5 will begin on February 8. Grades K-2 will not have school on January 21-22. Grades 3-5 will not have school on February 4-5. Teachers and school staff will use these days to prepare for the transition. As a reminder, during non-school days, no additional work will be assigned to students and no live classes will be held.
Secondary students will remain in distance learning at this time.
We are excited at the prospect of having students back in our school buildings. We recognize a transition to full-time, in-person learning is significant after an extended time outside a normal school routine– Especially for students in Kindergarten, students who are new to our school district, and when all students are in school buildings together for the first time. Returning for in-person learning will resemble the first days and weeks of a typical school year. Staff will prioritize relationship building activities, as well as establishing and practicing routines. Additionally, staff will remain vigilant in monitoring social, emotional, behavioral and academic indicators that may signal students are experiencing difficulty with the transition. Should staff or parents detect concerns during or after the transition to in-person learning, student services staff in each building will provide necessary support.
Yes, all students will bring their iPad to school and take it home each day for educational use through the COVID-19 pandemic. The iPads will continue to be the primary learning tool in the classroom to limit material sharing. Using and taking care of this device is an important part of your child’s daily work completion. It also helps ensure students develop technology skills and knowledge, as well as practice responsibility. The effective use and integration of technology into daily tasks is key to supporting students in learning a robust skill set, even beyond the conditions resulting from this pandemic.
No, there are no changes. In order to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19, volunteers and other visitors are still unable to visit school buildings in the in-person learning model. If you need to visit school to pick-up your child for routine doctor/dentist appointments or attend pre-planned meetings such as IEP meetings, specific directions will be provided to you upon arrival.
Thanks to funding from the USDA, school meals remain free through the rest of the 2020-21 school year for all students, regardless of the learning model your child is currently in. A la carte items must still be purchased. Families can fund their student(s)’ lunch account online through Titan.
Elementary students returning to in-person learning will receive meals at school and will remain with their classroom/cohort group aligned with social distance requirements when eating breakfast/lunch.
Students who remain in Distance Learning, specifically middle and high school students as well as those participating in LinK12 Lakeville, will continue to have the opportunity to request meal kits each week. Families who have students who are in the Distance Learning model will continue to be able to pick up meal kits. (*Please note, to support our operational requirements our Student Nutrition Department will be contacting families to complete new meal kit enrollment forms and pick up locations may change. We thank you for your continued support as we navigate another transition. To sign up for Distance Learning meal kits, please complete this Google form: Meal Kit Sign Up Form
Unfortunately these activities will continue to be suspended until a time that health conditions allow such gatherings to resume.
No, Elementary band will continue in a distance learning environment. More detailed information regarding the band program will be shared by schools with these families soon.
Specialists classes will be conducted in their dedicated classrooms as normal. Students will bring personal supplies to complete art lessons as needed to minimize sharing whenever possible. Phy-ed classes and music class materials will be sanitized between all classes. Students will sanitize hands before and after these classes.
To help limit sharing of materials, elementary students should bring their school supplies to school on the first day back to school buildings. School supplies will be stored at school and supply lists are listed on each school website. Students should also bring their iPad to and from school each day.
Support is available for families who may be in need of school supplies. These families should reach out to their teacher/building principal.
Lakeville Area Schools and local community professionals are here to support your children. Ask for confidential support at any time this school year here.
As always, we will connect students and families with ongoing care and support as needed or requested. When needed, students will be promptly connected to support services (counselors, psychologists, social workers) within the school building, as well as school success liaisons. Our dedicated community-based partners are also here to provide additional support for students and families who may be in need. Click here to access the community resources available or call 952-232-3770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health, Safety, School Closings
The health and safety of our staff and students remains at the forefront of our safe learning model. We all must continue to take the following measures for the health and safety of all:
- Staff and students should continue to complete a Student Self Health Check at home every morning before leaving for school. If your student is experiencing any of the symptoms, please keep them at home and call your school to report your student’s absence
- All students and staff must wear a face covering in school buildings and on district transportation
- Staff are required to wear face coverings AND face shields when working with students or around other adults
- Students must maintain 3 feet of distance from other students, whenever possible. Staff must maintain 6 feet of distance between students, whenever possible. Classroom activities must be adjusted to support social distancing.
- Students will be kept in the same groups whenever possible with limited movement in the building
- Large gatherings and congregating before and after school will continue to be restricted
- Building access will continue to be restricted for visitors and volunteers and large group gatherings
- The sharing of classroom/school-wide materials will be limited to the fullest extent possible to reduce the spread of germs
- Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and regular cleaning of classrooms and school buildings will be conducted
- Schools will reinforce frequent and good hand hygiene and provide hand sanitizer at entrances/exits, in classrooms and in cafeterias
- Clear barriers between teachers/staff and students for individualized, one-on-one instruction will be provided and utilized
- Optional, free bi-weekly COVID-19 testing for staff working with students in the in-person learning model and/or hybrid learning model will be implemented
- Designated staff will continue to contract trace positive cases to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- District leaders will continue to consult with public health experts and enforce the operational guidelines for operating in-person/hybrid learning models safely as determined by the the Minnesota Department of Health
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fluctuate and impact our community, it is important everyone in the Lakeville Area continues to take measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 so we can continue to provide in-person educational services. Please continue to socially distance and wear a face covering when in public. Get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Students must not attend school, child care or other school/co-curricular activities if ANY of the following items are true:
- Tests positive for COVID-19
- Shows symptoms of COVID-19
- May have/has been exposed to COVID-19
- Is waiting to get tested, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, or lives with anyone who has symptoms and is getting testing for COVID-19.
Prior to getting on the school bus/being dropped off to school each day, families should check if their student is not feeling well. If your student is experiencing any of the symptoms, please keep them at home and call your school to report your student’s absence.
All students must wear face coverings when riding the school bus and at school. Face coverings will be required during indoor physical education classes and indoor recess too. Face coverings may be removed while eating breakfast or lunch and during outdoor recess. We recommend parents/guardians send at least two extra face coverings with their children each day in case one is lost or soiled. It may be helpful if parents send masks in a gallon ziplock bag marked with the student’s name. If a student forgets a face covering, disposable masks will be available to them on buses and at building entrances.
Acceptable face coverings include:
- Cloth face masks
- Disposable face masks
- Double layered neck gaiters
- Religious fabric garments that cover the face
For more information on face coverings, please refer to COVID-19 Face Covering Policy.
To the fullest extent possible, students will remain with their classroom group of students. Student support programs such as special education, ADSIS, EL, gifted, tutoring, counseling, etc. may continue to pull students from their primary classrooms in order to provide these essential support services. Additional groups will be kept as small as possible and as consistent as possible from day to day. Seating assignments will be recorded to support in contact tracing as needed.
The response will vary depending on the situation. Schools will continue to follow this protocol for isolation and quarantine when there are positive cases identified in the building. Although the CDC has allowed for shorter quarantine timelines in certain circumstances, experts still recommend anyone needing to quarantine complete a full 14 days in order to ensure maximum safety. Positive cases could result in all students/staff within a classroom, or bus route needing to quarantine or entire schools closing. It remains important that families continue to have contingency plans for their students to learn from home in the case of quarantine or a learning model transition.
Families who need to get tested for COVID-19 can visit the Minnesota Department of Health website to find a location for free COVID-19 testing. It is important to check with your insurance provider before making an appointment to make sure the office visit fee is covered. The website offers other resources for uninsured Minnesotans along with low-cost healthcare options. If you need help contact your school nurse or school counselor.
MDE recently provided revised health and safety guidance for schools operating a full-time, in-person learning model. Three feet of social distancing is recommended whenever possible between students. Six feet of social distancing is recommended between students and adults.
If your student is sick, they should not attend school and please call your school’s attendance line to report student illness and absence. If your student has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is important that you share this information with your building nurse immediately and that your student gets tested.
When a student becomes ill with COVID-19 or is quarantined, teachers will support student learning from home utilizing the Seesaw/Schoology learning management system and/or offline learning activities. Teachers will not be required to provide a hybrid learning/distance learning experience.
As in the past, teachers and students will not have school on the first snow day. After the first snow day, class time will be implemented utilizing a distance learning model. It’s important for students to bring their devices to and from school each day in the case of inclement weather.
One update to the Minnesota Safe Learning plan, includes free, optional COVID saliva testing for school district staff working in hybrid models and/or in-person models. This optional testing will be provided bi-weekly for these staff members who would like to receive testing at assigned locations.
Child Care for Tier 1 Workers
Yes, child care will continue through the transition for participating students. All elementary students enrolled in the emergency child care program will continue to receive child care services until they are fully transitioned to in-person learning. Please note, beginning on Jan. 25 there may be changes to start and end times and bus route pick-up/drop-off times may be slightly impacted for students in grade 3-5. These families will receive additional information from their program director. Students who are attending child care in grade 6 will continue to receive child care services at Kenwood Trail Middle School.
KidZone before-and-after school care will be offered to all students beginning Jan. 25. This is a paid child care program through Lakeville Area Community Education. More information about KidZone registration will be provided to K-5 families soon.
Transportation and Arrival/Departure
In a full-time, in-person learning model buses will no longer be kept at 50 percent capacity. Students and bus drivers will continue to be required to wear face coverings at all times when riding the bus for the health and safety of everyone. Seating will be arranged to allow as much space as possible between riders. Students will unload from the bus one at a time from front to back. When returning home, students will unload one at a time at each stop. Additionally, daily attendance will be taken and students will be assigned seats by the bus company in order to help limit exposure and to help with contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 case. Seating charts will be created so that siblings and students at the same bus stops will sit near each other.
The majority of students already receive free bus transportation to school. Families who normally receive free transportation don’t need to do anything additional unless they completed an opt-out form at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. If you previously opted out of busing, you do need to opt back in by contacting Schmitty & Sons Bus Co. at 952-985-7513 or email@example.com by January 15. You can confirm your student(s)’ bus route information in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.
Families who live close enough to walk to their elementary school building (less than 0.8 miles) need to pay a fee to receive bus transportation. If you live in a walking zone and your child was previously registered for busing during hybrid learning, you will need to pay an additional fee to continue bus transportation. The additional fee is $53 and should be paid on Infinite Campus by January 15. There is an additional fee because transportation is expanding from the two days a week during Hybrid Learning to five days a week during In-Person learning.
Families who live in a walking zone but were not using transportation earlier this school year can still register for busing. These families will need to use the Infinite Campus Portal to register and pay a fee of $88 (half the annual transportation fee) by January 15.
If you no longer need bus transportation or wish to stop using bus transportation, please fill out this Transportation Opt-Out form. To help Schmitty and Sons set their bus routes in time for the transition, we ask that you please fill out this form by January 15 if you know you will be opting your student out of bus transportation.
Our schools will continue to enforce social distancing and avoid opportunities for gathering before and after school. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at entrances and exits. Signage will show students how to maintain social distancing while standing in lines, restrooms, offices and other spaces. When dropping off/picking up students, parents are advised use designated entrances and arrive no earlier than within 10 minutes of school start time and be promptly on site at dismissal time. Staff will help escort students to and from classrooms. Students should be wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing at all times during arrival and dismissal times.
Full-Time Distance Learning Option Through LinK12 Lakeville Online School
Yes, per state guidance any K-12 students may choose to enroll in our full-time, distance learning model at any point during the 2020-21 school year.
About Distance Learning through LinK12 Lakeville: LinK12 Lakeville is a state-certified online school. Students have similar curriculum, but do not utilize the same learning management system or have the same teachers as their neighborhood school. Once enrolled, families are committing to remaining in LinK12 Lakeville for the remainder of the school year. To learn more about LinK12 Lakeville and to enroll, please contact Principal Dana Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While all teachers/schools cover the same Minnesota academic standards for each grade, the pace at which teachers go through coursework may vary depending on the needs of the students in each class. LinK12 Lakeville staff will communicate with school building staff to share your student’s progress through the academic standards, their achievement, as well as any needs your student may have. After transitioning to their new classroom, your student may repeat some lessons with their whole class. If teachers observe any academic concerns as students transition back, they will work with families to develop academic support plans.
Early Childhood and Preschool
No, early childhood and pre-school students remain in their current models.
No. The state of Minnesota still requires school districts to make decisions about opening secondary schools using the State’s COVID case matrix and county case rates. Due to COVID-19 case rates in our counties, students in grades 6-12 remain in Distance Learning until further notice.
We continue to monitor state guidance and county case rates aligned to the state’s matrix for schools. When case rates are 20-29 cases per 10,000 people, secondary schools may operate a hybrid learning model. When case rates are 0-9 cases per 10,000 people, secondary schools may operate in a full-time in-person learning model.
Transitioning Throughout the 2020-21 School Year
Yes, due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that families continue to have contingency plans for their students to transition models within days.