Greetings Parents of RLCC Public Schools,

The back2school plan, as of now is described below.  Please keep in mind that we are aiming at a moving target with a changing device.  It is a plan, and I will continue to work to make it work, safely and for the best education possible.  The prior survey, yes before the mask orders came, showed 92% planned on sending their children back to school in person, with 18% preferring to start the year with distance learning, 70% willing to transport their children if we are restricted to 50% bus capacity, 83% would not need school age care to help with transporting, 84% would not need school age care if we were ordered to go to full distance learning and 81% are not willing to pay for school age care.  I do understand that situations change and if we all try to be as flexible as needed, and continually adjust we can make this work.

Some educational changes we have made in preparation for this school year are: ordered computer/ipad devices so in the event of distance learning all students will have a device, changed Distance Learning to be the audio and visual streaming of the classroom instruction, and ordered classroom size devices for the audio and visual streaming going out, with the recording of the classroom instruction though the google educational suite.  Other preparations involve disinfecting, hand sanitizer, masks and shields, some plexi-glass barriers, and a lot of planning for social distancing, meals, and transportation to name a few.

Our plans under the 3 scenarios the MN Department of Health and the MN Department of Education have directed us to use are as follows: 

Scenario 1, In Person: with the parental choice to send students in person or to choose to distance learn.

Scenario 2, Hybrid: have school in person with parental choice for distance learning.  It is my belief that when we have to go to the hybrid model that more parents will choose to have more distance learning, thus lowering the number of students in person and allowing us to meet the more restrictive requirements of the hybrid model which are:  Social distance at all times when in the school building, 50% capacity of school facilities (Based on fire marshal standards) and 50% capacity on Buses, and enough staff for the model.

Scenario 3, Distance Learning:  This will most likely have some required differences from last spring from MDE.

Here is the guidance from MDH and MDE on the 3 scenarios.

Scenario 1: In-person learning for all students. In this planning scenario, schools should create as much space between students and teachers as is feasible during the day, but will not be held strictly to enforcing 6 feet of social distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom. Activities and extracurricular programming should continue to follow the COVID-19 Prevention Guidance for Youth, Student, and Child Care Programs (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/socialdistance.pdf). This scenario may be implemented if state COVID-19 metrics continue to stabilize and/or improve. All requirements in this guidance apply to scenario 1.

Scenario 2: Hybrid model with strict social distancing and capacity limits. In this planning scenario, schools must limit the overall number of people in school facilities to 50% maximum occupancy. Sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times. If distancing cannot be achieved in a space, the number of occupants must be reduced. Schools must also limit the overall number of people on transportation vehicles to 50% maximum occupancy. Schools must include plans for contactless pick-up and/or delivery of meals and school materials for days that students and staff are not in the school building, as well as implementation of a school-age care program for critical workers. This scenario may be implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen at the local, regional, or statewide level. Scenario 2 may also be implemented within a school if they experience clusters of cases within a classroom or the school. All requirements in this guidance apply to scenario 2, with additional requirements noted in the Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure section noted for scenario 2 only.

Scenario 3: Distance learning only. This scenario may be implemented if local, regional, or statewide COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require the suspension of in-person learning. The requirements in this guidance regarding in-person protections would not apply to the general school community, as students and staff would be utilizing distance learning and would not be gathering in groups on school grounds. However, schools may be open to provide emergency child care or other functions.

Now we are going to look at the Governor’s Safe Learning Plan which was presented last Thursday.  The goals of this plan are: 1. Prioritize the safety of students and staff   2. Prioritize in-person learning, especially for younger learners   3. Consider infectiousness and transmission risk among different ages   4. Support planning, while permitting flexibility for districts   5. Take into account disease prevalence at a local level.

This Plan also has a learning model formula and five different models, and consultation with health officials, evaluation of our ability to implement required and recommended mitigation strategies then determine a learning model to begin the school year, monitor community and school covid-19 impacts with public health, and if we are not on the model the formula shows us we must consult with MDE, MDH and the regional support teams that are planned to be ready on August 24th

That is a quick look at it, and with the recent increase in positive test cases in Red Lake County and several conversations with public health, we are concerned.  Once we have fully delved into these parameters it really does not appear that we really have too much flexibility in the model learning plan.  We are monitoring daily, and MDH and MDE have also begun to implement the plan to provide us support.  There are currently many questions that have not yet been answered, starting with why did they use case data that was two weeks old last Thursday?  We will continue to push for answers and clarifications.  One thing does appear pretty clear to me as we have analyzed data every day since the plan was shared and that is no one really has this understood and the plan does put safety first, and education second.

So for now we really need your input on the questions below as it will provide us with the numbers so we can work to find a way to meet the new requirement from last Thursday, specifically in the hybrid model to social distance at all times when in the school and for transportation to be at 50% capacity.

Please email the school at B2School1@rlcc.k12.mn.us your response, you can also call either school if that works best for you.  We need the following to redesign school schedules, classes, facility use if/when we must go to the Scenario 2 Hybrid model, if possible under our current plan and if not we will probably have to go to an every other day attendance model for students.  So the information is very important.

  1.  If you are planning to choose distance learning to start the school year, please list the students and what grade they are in.  (this question only needs to be answered if you are planning to distance learn)
  2. In the Scenario 2 Hybrid learning model you will be transporting your students to and from school, please list your students and their grade level.

Sincerely,

James Guetter, Superintendent