November 11, 2020
A letter from Superintendent Michael Baumann
Due to the exploding COVID-19 cases across the state, especially in our two local counties, today I am announcing a district-wide shift to Distance Learning 2.0 for all PreK-12 students through at least Winter Break. This transition has the support of the Board of Education and will take place over the next two weeks.
I know for early childhood and elementary families, this may come as a surprise because we have primarily been forecasting a shift for secondary students. However, local case rates have increased at a much faster rate than just a couple weeks ago. The current projected case rates for the past two weeks in Dakota and Scott Counties are significantly higher than the State’s threshold of 50 cases per 10,000 people. This data, along with the case rates and quarantine counts in our school buildings and the effects on our staffing, indicate this is the right time to transition our PreK-12 students.
Distance Learning 2.0
Distance Learning 2.0 will not be the same as the emergency distance learning you experienced in the spring. Distance Learning 2.0 is a structured and comprehensive learning experience. Students will learn from home five days per week following a consistent schedule. Students will learn through live, virtual classes with teachers. Students will also be able to work on their own time by learning through recorded lessons and teacher-directed assignments using online and offline materials. There will no longer be different learning groups. All students in a class will participate in learning together.
As part of this transition, there will be some calendar changes for the two Hybrid Learning groups.
Important Dates for Secondary (6-12) Students:
- Learning Group A’s last in-person day will be Monday, Nov.16.
- Learning Group B’s last in-person day will be Tuesday, Nov. 17.
- All secondary students will start Distance Learning 2.0 on Monday, Nov. 23, before Fall Break.
Important Dates for Elementary (K-5) Students:
- Learning Group A’s last in-person day will be Monday, Nov. 16.
- Learning Group B will be in-person on Tuesday, Nov.17 (to be the same as 6-12 students) and their last day will be Thursday, Nov. 19. These changes are to help keep family groups in-person on the same days during this transition while also keeping elementary students in the hybrid model as long as possible.
- All elementary students will begin Distance Learning 2.0 after Fall Break on Monday, Nov. 30.
We plan to remain in Distance Learning 2.0 at least through Winter Break (Dec. 23 – Jan. 1).
Please note all the changes and important dates in the calendar below:
PreK Transition Timeline
For Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Early Childhood Screening the last day of in-person instruction or screening will be Tuesday, Nov. 24. ECFE and Early Childhood Screening will begin Distance Learning 2.0 and virtual screening on Thursday, December 3 depending upon each student’s schedule.
For Small Wonders Preschool the last day of in-person instruction will be Friday, Nov. 20. Small Wonders Preschool will begin Distance Learning 2.0 on Thursday, December 3 depending upon each student’s schedule.
For Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) the last day of in-person instruction will be Thursday, Nov. 19. ECSE students also attending Small Wonders Preschool will still attend on Friday, Nov. 20. ECSE will begin Distance Learning 2.0 the week of November 30 depending upon each student’s schedule.
For all early childhood programs, limited in-person instruction may continue for students based upon identified individual needs.
Planning for Distance Learning 2.0
With a clear transition timeline now in place, we urge families to be prepared with a plan. We know this may not be easy for everyone. The unfortunate reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t wait for anyone. It has forced us to make a transition for early childhood and elementary students sooner than we had imagined or hoped.
As you make plans, know that the District will continue to offer child care to children of Tier 1 Essential Workers, as classified by the State of Minnesota. The District will continue to make free meals available for all students. Activities and athletics and Community Education enrichment programs will continue following enhanced safety guidelines and will be evaluated on a weekly basis. Schools will also continue to provide limited in-person supports for select students who need specialized supports.
More Details to Come
We have a Distance Learning 2.0 web page live on the district website. Right now, this page provides a basic overview of Distance Learning 2.0. This page will be updated with more details later this week as schools finalize schedules and plans. Updates to come will include details on what learning will look like for each grade level and how services like meals, child care and facility use by non-district sponsored community groups will work.
While we have already done Distance Learning once before, please know that this is not the same emergency distance learning your child experienced in the spring. Our staff have worked to improve the distance learning experience for your children. Your teachers and building staff are prepared to safely and effectively teach and support your students in this next transition.
As always, thank you for your understanding and support as we continue to evolve through these challenging times.
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