On Thursday, July 30, Governor Walz announced the MN Safe Learning Plan providing direction on the data and process to be used for local decision making for the start of school. Moving forward, we have been directed to use health data from the MN Department of Health and Scott County, and consult with public health officials and our PLSAS Incident Command Team to determine which model will be implemented for the start of school.
This announcement was not what school districts were expecting. Like you, we were expecting a back-to-school learning model to be announced. While we were all hoping for a final answer, we know that moving forward we must be prepared throughout the year to use all three learning models: In-Person, Hybrid and Distance Learning, based on Scott County data regarding COVID-19 cases.
The goals of the MN Safe Learning Plan are to:
- Prioritize the safety of students and staff
- Prioritize In-Person learning, especially for younger learners and those with most need
- Recognize differences in potential spread among different ages
- Support planning, while permitting flexibility for districts
- Take into account disease prevalence at a local level
Once a back-to-school model is determined, using a localized data-driven approach, we will communicate with staff and families. Throughout the year, we will continually monitor Scott County COVID-19 data and will be guided by public health officials when making learning model changes. More details from the MN Department of Education can be found here: https://files.constantcontact.com/c31070c4101/d8b93de0-4945-44fb-bd9d-b604e7ec2f8e.pdf
We know that our school year plans must be flexible, adaptable and always keep student and staff safety as our number one priority.
Regardless of what learning model we start the school year with, all public schools must offer an equitable Distance Learning option to all families, where children can learn entirely from home. Moving forward, PLSAS is calling this our Distance Learning Academy. If you do not want your student to attend in-person or hybrid to start the school year, you can opt-into the Distance Learning Academy. On July 31, all families received an email with a form to indicate their commitment on this topic. Additionally, the same form asks for family intentions regarding transportation. On July 31, PLSAS staff will be getting a return-to-work commitment and confirmation form. Understanding staff and family intentions will help us further develop our back-to-school plans.
The week of August 10, we will communicate to staff and families more information about our back-to-school plans, as well as child care options, how to access school meals and more. Parent commitment forms are due August 14.
Our planning teams have been working thoughtfully all summer to review stakeholder input and develop inclusive plans so that all students have access to the opportunities to learn and develop to their fullest potential. As a district, we will work to provide the best education possible for students and we will provide the support our staff needs to be successful.
Draft Learning Models (July 22, 2020)