Governor Issues “Stay at Home” Distance Learning Begins Monday, March 30, 2020
Governor Tim Walz has announced a “Stay at Home” executive order for Minnesota starting Friday, March 27th at 11:59 p.m. through Friday, April 10th, 2020. Briefly, I want to reassure you that this executive order won’t deviate from our distance learning plans beginning Monday, March 30, 2020.
Here are 3 key takeaways from the governor’s address that pertain specifically to school, that I think you need to know:
- Distance Learning will begin on Monday, March 30th and be conducted through April 30th. A tentative timeline presented includes staff on May 1 and May 4 will begin preparations for a hopeful return of our students on Tuesday, May 5th. Tuesday, May 5th will more than likely depend on how well we stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Meals for students will continue to be provided (even during the “Stay at Home” time frame). In fact, the school will send out a follow-up survey to see if we can logically extend delivery arrangements to have meals delivered to a specific address. If for some reason you are unable to pick the meals up at one of the delivery sites, please contact Superior Transportation at 507-723-4283 or by email at email@example.com. At home delivery will be done only if absolutely necessary, versus a convenience. You will need to provide address you want meals delivered to; number or meals; and an understanding of your unique needs.
- School age care at school will continue for essential employees. In fact, the list of essential employees has been expanded. Basically, by the “Stay at Home” executive order if you are to report to work, you are an essential employee. Please contact the school at 507-723-4283 in advance, if you would like to enroll your school age child in our school age care program. School age care hours run on school calendar days from 6:15 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Please expect more information to come from the school regarding “distance learning” specifics. The school website will also be a repository of this necessary information.
Spring sports and activities participation will be suspended during the closure. No decisions regarding the cancellation of any spring activity (including speech) has been made by the Minnesota State High School League.
Additional information will be provided as it becomes available and as decisions are made.
The school stands ready to continue doing our part to keep learning and our society moving forward.
Making connections with students is our top priority
A priority for our staff will be to re-connect with your child. Staff are mindful of the anxiety and uncertainty that students and families may have personally as businesses are also being impacted by mandated closures.
As we continue to use this week to refine plans, we are mindful that we don’t want to make things worse by pouncing out with work and trying to rush normalcy. We definitely need to EASE into this as we go. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If I have 6 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 4 hours sharpening my ax.”
Redeveloping relationships “via distance learning” by connecting and supporting our students and families in the early days of this rollout are our first and top priority. We have a great opportunity to connect with your child to check-in with them to see how they are doing personally first; and then integrate learning later. These kids need to hear from their teacher now more than ever. Less is more at the start! We will build momentum as we move forward.
I would speculate if Abe Lincoln was given 6 hours to teach a child, he would have spent the first 4 hours building a relationship with that child.
Secondly, we want to work through technology connectivity issues that may exist for students that prohibit their engagement in our “distance learning” plan. We expect that we will need to work out the kinks as we move forward with this large initiative.
The school will need your support by ensuring your children are participating in their learning plan. Our goal is to continuously analyze, modify, and improve. Your feedback is important for us to make improvements.
In addition, please recognize the pressures that come with standardized MCA testing are being relieved as MDE makes a waiver request to the federal ESSA leaders to cancel testing this spring.
Our school staff greatly appreciates your support.
With Great Appreciation
It is difficult to fully comprehend what our society might face in the weeks ahead. We have great appreciation for our health care professionals and emergency personnel who are on the front lines of this pandemic. During this time of uncertainty and adversity we should all feel confident and have a peace of mind that we are all in this together. We should feel fortunate to live and raise children surrounded by people who are willing to step up when needed. Their deeds are motivated by the greater good which is the good of our children, neighbors, and community. I am greatly humbled by the support the community is always willing to provide our school, the children we serve, and each other.
Moving Us Forward
From my personal perspective, I am sadden for our kids and staff if last Tuesday will be the last “regular” school day of this year. The possible sudden end deprived all students (especially our seniors) great moments, experiences, and memories. I know it does no good to whine or immiserate over things we can’t control, but a school without the kids just feels wrong to me.
Our focus right now at school is put our efforts to feed kids, provide school age care for essential employees, and to make the best of this situation for your children and family where we can move their learning forward because “learning matters.”
School “Distance Learning” Plan Design Wants to Be Family Friendly
As a school we are working on plan developments. If you ask me, your school teaching and support staff would have been ready this week to deliver instruction to your children. The state has asked for the 8 day “pause” from learning and we are complying with their directive.
The school is looking at plans that we hope won’t overwhelm your children. I am not sure if we shouldn’t consider “less is more” as students are dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now. We want to provide that balance between moving their learning forward and not add stress or anxiety. Our children are more “in tune” with what is going on around them than we may all realize.
The school realizes the possible length of time with this statewide school closure makes this different in some ways than our “digital days” as they only would last a day or two. We are working on logistics that will be age appropriate and where students can complete necessary school materials independently (to the greatest extent). We hope to have aligned if a child needs help, we can help. We certainly don’t want this “distance learning” experience where mom and dad come home from work daily and are spending hours completing school work adding to the stress/anxiety.
Friday, March 20th, we are planning on doing test runs with the staff with the best means of interacting with students via technology. This is a requirement with the state distance learning plan. This is a different requirement that goes beyond posting an informative instructional video on a website.
Internet Logistics and Possible Family Options
From survey data we understand most families have internet available at home and understand there are some that do not. We are looking at how we can fill the gaps. We are analyzing public WIFI options and consulting with communities on understanding what is available. I have attached a correspondence from Nuvera on internet options for families. I have heard ARVIG (for folks in the Clements area) have free internet offers for families in need.
Added Meal Service Drop-Off Sites starting Wednesday, March 18th
In an effort to make meals more accessible, the district has coordinated with the bus contractor, Superior Transportation, the following meal drop off sites and times. Please note locations may have different times. There will be no meals consumed inside the buildings at the pick-up sites. The idea is the meals are made to ‘grab and go’.
Springfield Available Locations
Springfield Public School Cafeteria- door W6: from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Springfield North Park (Maple St. and Van Buren Ave): from 11:00 a.m. until 11:10 a.m.
Springfield Public Library: from 11:15 a.m. until 11:25 a.m.
Riverbluff Apartments: (Riverside Dr.) from 11:40 a.m. until 11:50a.m.
Other Available Locations
Sanborn Community Center: from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Clements Fire Hall: from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Comfrey Fire Hall: from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Cobden Community Park: from 11:00 a.m. until 11:10 a.m.
Leavenworth Japanese Martyr Parking lot: from 11:20 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Again, this is FREE OF CHARGE and will function similarly as our summer meal program where it is open to any child (high school senior to age 1) regardless of where they attend school. This program will provide a breakfast & lunch during the time of the school shutdown (Wednesday, March 18-Friday March 27). The breakfast and lunch will be delivered together, in one box or bag. The school district will notify families if this program is extended beyond March 27th
If you have not taken the meal participation survey, please do so by clicking on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7G3QKML
Completing the survey is not necessary for your participation, but this data will help us in planning how many meals to prepare.
If interested in ordering BBB Section CO-vid Section Champ Apparel, use the link https://sbb20.itemorder.com/sale . Order deadline is 4/1/2020.
Spring Sports Participants
If participating in a spring sport, pay your fee to the HS office before your first day of practice. Fee is $105 for grades 10-12, $80 for grades 7-9. If you have not completed a MSHSL eligibility packet this school year, you must do so also before your first day of practice.