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Update 26: Return to school plans for first weeks of 2021

(12/18/2020) Thank you for reviewing the information included in this update. While this update may answer many of your questions, know that details are continuing to be worked on. Make sure to check out the frequently asked questions area of the COVID-19 website as a resource. 


Thank you for your continued support of our schools. 


This update includes: 

  • Learning updates for district preschools and elementary schools.
  • Learning updates for district middle and high schools. 
  • Athletics, activities and facility rental updates.
  • Confirmed with COVID-19? Please contact the school nurse.
  • Variety of resources available; check out the FAQ webpage.

Learning updates for district preschools and elementary schools

Kindergarten through grade two (K-2 hybrid) students are allowed to return to full-time in-person learning, five days a week, starting Tuesday, Jan. 19. The district will follow the updated Minnesota Safe Learning Plan guidance and use a “rolling start” system to phase in additional grades as conditions allow. 


This transition only applies to K-2 students that selected the hybrid learning format for trimester two. Families that prefer to change from in-person learning to distance learning are asked to notify their school by Friday, Jan. 8. A note, elementary students that chose distance learning for trimester two will remain in that format for the second trimester, through Friday, March 12. Parents/guardians who have questions or want to request changes between learning models should contact their school directly. 


Transitional days are needed to complete this change. District instructional and support staff will utilize Thursday, Jan. 14 and Friday, Jan. 15 for planning the return to full in-person learning. There will be no school for all elementary students, including students who will continue on with the distance learning model. The following Monday, Jan. 18, the Martin King, Jr. holiday, is a non-school day for all students throughout the district. The district is providing this information with as much advance notice as possible to assist parents/guardians with planning for child care needs for these days.  


Health and safety measures will remain in effect for the full in-person learning format, however, there are some important differences between hybrid and full in-person: 

  • Students will attend school five days a week.
  • Classroom capacity limits do not apply. Elementary students will be in school at the same time and buses will run at full capacity.
  • Every effort will be made to maintain physical distancing to the extent possible. Updated recommendations for in-person elementary learning encourages a minimum of three feet of separation. 
  • Clear barriers may be present between students and teachers in individual or small group instruction settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Staff will be wearing both face shields and coverings.
  • Students will continue to wear face coverings and also wear them for indoor physical activity.
  • Specialist lessons, e.g. art, explorations, will take place in each student’s home classroom or if weather permits, outside. Physical education, however, will continue outside of a student’s classroom.
  • Every other week, school staff will have the opportunity to take a COVID-19 test.
  • Ionization systems are now present in all schools to eliminate the COVID-19 virus in buildings and further improve air quality

Should COVID-19 cases rise in a school amongst students or staff, Anoka-Hennepin will rely on a pre-established protocol for disease outbreaks, similar to the seasonal flu, along with input from the Minnesota Department of Health, to determine if a brief transition back to distance learning is needed. 


Students in grades three through five (3-5) are scheduled to return to in-person learning on Monday, Feb. 1 assuming the K-2 startup is successful. 


Special education setting three and four students will begin to return to in-person learning with a gradual phase in plan. First phase of students returning will begin Jan. 19 depending on grade level and intensity of need. This includes early childhood special education (ECSE) and transition (Bridges and Pathways). Return dates and more details will be shared with parents/guardians the week of Dec. 21. 


Preschool and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) students will be able to return to school Tuesday, Jan. 19, with students attending their traditionally scheduled class days. (The program will no longer follow a hybrid schedule.)


Meals will continue to be served to students in distance learning. All meals will continue to be free until federal funding is exhausted. 


Child care schedules will shift in this learning model change. Traditional before- and after-school child care contracts in place through Adventures Plus for the 2020-21 school year will be effective Tuesday, Jan. 19 for students in grades K-2, and Monday, Feb. 1 for students in grades 3-5. Families who were originally enrolled in Adventures Plus before- and after-school care will receive an update with more detail. Families that have been enrolled in District Emergency Care will receive email updates from Community Education with information regarding the last scheduled day of child care. 


Learning updates for district middle and high schools

Middle and high schools will continue to remain in distance learning and return to in-person learning as conditions allow. Learning models are dependent on public and school-level health data and guidance from the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan. Middle and high schools are now different in their approach to returning to school compared to elementary schools. 


On-site academic support will be available in school buildings during the time schools are in the distance learning format. Parents/guardians or students can review available options and determine a plan for support by contacting their school counselor directly.   


Mental health and social-emotional support is available. Students benefit from a system of mental health and social-emotional support. School social workers, school counselors, mental health therapists and other caring adults are trained and available to provide support. Parents/guardians and students should contact their school social workers and/or school counselors to review options. 


Special education setting three and four students will begin to return to in-person learning with a gradual phase in plan. First phase of students returning will begin Jan. 19 depending on grade level and intensity of need. This includes early childhood special education (ECSE) and transition (Bridges and Pathways). Return dates and more details will be shared with parents/guardians the week of Dec. 21. 


Meals will continue to be served to students in distance learning. All meals will continue to be free until federal funding is exhausted. 


Athletics, activities and facility rental updates

Athletics, activities and facility rentals will resume Monday, Jan. 4 in alignment with state health and safety guidelines. 


The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) shared these athletic changes: 

  • Gymnastics, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys hockey, wrestling, boys swimming and diving, girls and boys nordic skiing and girls and boys alpine skiing may begin in-person practice.
  • The dance season may resume in-person practice sessions.
  • Adapted floor hockey may begin its training season.

Athletic registrations started at district high schools yesterday. Please refer to the registration page under the activities menu on your school’s website for details. 

 

Some Community Education programs will also be able to make schedule adjustments in alignment with the updated guidance, including Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), preschool, Adventures Plus school-age child care, Community Schools enrichment classes and recreation activities, and middle school recreation samplers. Read more on the community education website


Confirmed with COVID-19? Please contact the school nurse 

The need to monitor positive cases of COVID-19 within the school community continues. 


Parents/guardians and employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are asked to contact the school nurse. This information helps with school planning and ensuring health and safety within the school community. On site staff are also still required to report to school nurses when they’re placed on quarantine. This does not include students who are asked to quarantine due to exposure. 


Visit ahschools.us/COVID-19 for additional information on Anoka-Hennepin’s COVID-19 plan. 


Variety of resources available; check out the FAQ document 

A variety of district and community resources are available to families from emotional and behavioral supports to technology supports. Visit ahschools.us/COVID-19resources for details on these topics and a number of others.


Also, check out the frequently asked questions section of the COVID-19 website for more information.