Governor announces changes to state's Safe Learning Plan, allowing elementary schools and early learning programs to open in January

A message from Superintendent Aldo Sicoli:

On December 17, 2020, Governor Walz announced changes to the state’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year that would allow us to begin bringing our youngest students back to school for blended or in-person learning starting as soon as January 19. We are hopeful that we can make the necessary adjustments to begin a transition in January, but will continue to monitor health and safety conditions that might interfere with this timeline.

The revised guidance prioritizes transitioning to blended or in-person learning for our students in grades early learning and in elementary grades. Under the new guidelines, districts across the state can transition as long as they use updated safety protocols including regular testing of staff and having staff wear face shields and masks. The state requires us to slowly bring back students in phases, starting with the youngest learners and adding additional grade levels over time.

The changes to the state’s Safe Learning Plan do not affect middle school or high school students, who will remain in distance learning at this time.

We are still examining the state’s new guidance. Next week we will share with you more details about our learning model transition, including important information about safety precautions that will be in place to keep students, staff and families safe. We will also share additional information about how the changes impact co-curricular activities. Of course, families who prefer to keep their students in the Distance Learning Academy will have that option throughout the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. 

While this is exciting news, and we look forward to safely bringing students back into classrooms to learn, we ask that you continue to be diligent in slowing the spread of COVID-19. We know that changing guidance and shifting learning models is challenging for students, families and staff. We continue to work to minimize the impact of these changes on students and families.

Please follow the governor's recommendations and avoid in-person gatherings, wear a mask and physically distance yourself from others whenever you are in public, and wash your hands often. Together, we can all do our part to ensure our schools can reopen and remain open.

Sincerely,

Dr. Aldo Sicoli
Superintendent

P.s. Please find the latest information about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic at isd623.org/COVID19.