Update on planning efforts

Posted on: Jul 20, 2020

I am writing to provide you a brief update on our planning efforts for the 2020-21 school year, and to preview what you can expect in the coming weeks. 

While we know parents are anxious for specific information about the return to school, some uncertainty will remain until the state announces whether Minnesota schools open in person, through distance learning or through a hybrid mix of the two. This decision is expected by the week of July 27. We are currently planning for all three scenarios. After the state announcement is made, we will make final adjustments to our plans for implementation purposes. These plans will be released sometime in August so that all can make proper preparations for the school year.

Current efforts
At present, a task force of nearly 40 district-wide staff members is overseeing planning efforts by numerous small groups to iron out the logistics of providing educational excellence in all three possible scenarios. A key component of this effort is an advisory group that includes students and parents so we can gather input from those vital perspectives.

We are also communicating with our colleagues in other districts so that we can identify best practices and tailor them to serve our own students and families.

How you can help
You can aid our local planning efforts by participating in a survey that will be emailed after the state’s announcement. Topics will include your comfort level by sending your students back to school in person, whether you will request distance learning services, transportation, childcare concerns, and more. 

Things to consider
As we wait for more direction from the state, we ask that you consider the following:

  • Transportation: Are you willing and able to drive your students to school rather than having them ride the bus? Fewer riders will allow for proper physical distancing on buses. 
  • Masks: At present masks for students are strongly recommended by MDE and MDH, but not required in school guidelines. However, these guidelines may change based on the department of health’s analysis of the COVID-19 data. Do you have a mask you can provide for your student?
  • Learning model preference: Will the educational and health interests of your student(s) are better served through in-person or at-home learning? You will have the opportunity to indicate your preference in the upcoming survey.
  • Communication: We pledge to keep you informed to the best of our ability. Please understand that the state continues to modify its guidelines on a regular basis and that sharing details before plans are finalized could be counterproductive and lead to confusion. The frequency of our communication will increase as we enter into August and have more definite information to provide.

In one way or another, we will continue to face challenges as we head into the upcoming school year. We appreciate your partnership as we work together to uphold our standard of educational excellence.

Yours in Tiger pride,

Matthew W. Schoen, Ed.S
Delano Public Schools

(This message was originally sent to all district families by email on Friday, July 17, 2020)