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Back to School Update
Back to School Update
Mr. Steve Smith
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

August 18, 2020

Dear ISD 300 Families and Students:

I wanted to get some information to you that hopefully answers some of the questions that we all have surrounding the beginning of this school year.  As always we will need to work together to make our return to school a success.  This is a challenging situation that does not have a clear model or best practice to work from but having arrived at the hybrid model to open school there are many districts using the same format/concepts as we are and will give us a chance to learn form each other.  First and foremost we are excited to get back to teaching and helping our students learn.  We also recognize this is going to be a flexible situation based on many variables, some of which we have little to no control over.  Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that we want to address:

What are some of the changes for the building/classrooms, etc?

  • No lockers will be assigned to begin the year. 

  • Students will need book bags/back packs.  The smaller the better.  Mesh or clear preferred.  Students will only want to bring minimal supplies. They will be allowed to take them into classes.

  • Arrival/dismissal times will need to be staggered to help with distancing

  • Passing in the halls will be taught in the first days to help ensure a safe environment for all.

  • Some grade levels will remain in one room most of the day with teachers traveling to them, (5-6) Others will follow a schedule in a “pod” with the same students (7-8) Others will move from room to room observing safety protocols (9-12)

  • Lunch will be scheduled to provide as much distancing as possible.  In some cases lunch may have to be delivered to rooms. This is yet to be determined. 

  • Busses will still drop and pick up at the north end of the building with separate MS and HS entrances

  • Students and staff will wear masks unless they have a medical document that states otherwise.

  • No assemblies this year or face to face field trips, virtual only

  • Students may enter on the north end of the building, west entrance by the media center and the fine arts entrance at the beginning of the day.  Once school starts the west entrance will be the only access to the building.

  • The main office is located in the media center, we are limiting as many visitors to our building as possible this year as well.  Parents can call the main office if picking up a student and they can meet them in the west entrance. 

What happens if a student/staff becomes sick, tests positive, or is exposed?

  • https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf  This link helps to identify steps needed in each of the scenarios.  This will be updated as new information becomes available

  • Students becoming ill at school will be taken to a quarantine area near the auditorium with our nurse/nurse assistant and parents will be notified and need to pick them up.

  • It is possible that individuals, classes, staff or even grade levels may have to quarantine at different times during the year and this means they will be in the distance learning model until the quarantine is over.  

  • We will trace ill students as closely as possible and follow cleaning protocols in those spaces

  • We are hoping that all of us will recognize that this year especially we need to stay home if sick or are showing symptoms to help prevent community spread. 

  • Rooms/spaces are scheduled to be cleaned on a daily basis to prevent spread.

How does the hybrid learning model work and will we have to use the other models?

  • Students will be grouped into either the A group or the B group and attend school on these days: School Chart

  • When students are in the building they will follow their regular schedule.  When students are online they will also need to follow their regular schedule and be connected with their classmates virtually.  Students are expected to be engaged in learning during normal school hours and should not be making appointments or scheduling other activities during that time.  Wednesday will be online for both groups and students will be expected to be engaged in learning during normal hours.  Classes will have virtual check ins, teachers will be available for additional support as well. 

  • Distance learning students that are every day will need to follow the same protocols as the other students when they are online and be engaged during normal hours with their classes and classmates. 

  • Some students may be identified based on need to be in actual attendance each day and would follow their regular schedule in the building. 

  • As the year progresses we may need to move to an all distance learning model if cases or quarantines make it impossible to be in the building or staff the building.  We may also return to an all face to face model if the numbers remain low enough for us to do that safely.  

  • Students will learn, be assessed and graded based on their level of success and work completion.

  • Mr. Cardille shared an earlier document describing many of these scenarios here: 20/21 School year plan

I know this is a lot of information and I apologize if I did not address your specific question or concern.  Please email me with additional items and I will do my best to answer those for you.  We have been receiving requests for A group/ B group considerations and at this time can’t address those.  We are working with our transportation company to identify workable routes that can be identified keeping in mind that we need to balance the groups as close to 50/50 as we can.  I also want to emphasize that we have no idea if we will be in the hybrid model for 2 weeks….2 months….?  It is highly likely that we will move into one of the other models as the year progresses.  We will have to be flexible and patient as we have the year unfold.  Is this inconvenient?  YES.  Is this uncomfortable?  YES.  Is this unpredictable?  ABSOLUTELY.   Will this be better than what we had last spring?  All of us here in the district have been working towards that end and I think we will have something much better than last spring.  We have been learning about methods that other districts and staff have used and we have shared the things that were successful for us.  I know this.  We will adapt and continue to adjust as anything comes our way.  Thanks for everything you have had to endure and thank you for your understanding.  I wish I could say that our plan covers everything and all will be smooth but I don’t know what the future will bring!  I am confident though we will be prepared and respond with all of our talents.  

Yours in Education,

Mr. Steve Smith

Secondary School Principal