We have been receiving questions from families seeking to learn more about the planning related to reopening during COVID-19 that has been happening at Roseville Area Schools. We are compiling a list of frequently asked questions below. This page is under active construction and content is being added regularly.
Jump to FAQ category:
- Health and Safety
- Distance Learning 2.0
- Distance Learning Academy
- Blended Learning
- Nutrition Services
You can also a comprehensive and regularly updated FAQ document from the Minnesota Department of Education.
Q. How is the district communicating with families?
A. Our website will remain a primary vehicle for communicating with the community. Information specific to the fall 2020 reopening can be found at isd623.org/reopening. Other communication vehicles that can be utilized include:
- Voice mails, texts and emails to parents and staff.
- School and district e-newsletters.
Q. How will the district determine what learning scenario to choose?
A. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has set thresholds to help schools determine how to reopen safely in Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. The state’s guidance is based on a formula that uses COVID-19 infection rates over 14 days in our county (Ramsey County). Under this plan, school districts have some flexibility in selecting the scenario that works best for their community – in-person learning at school, distance learning at home or blended learning which is a combination of both. Districts are able to choose to be more cautious in selecting a scenario that best fits the needs of their local community. Throughout the course of the school year the district, individual schools or even classrooms may need to shift to a different learning scenario throughout the school year to address challenges related to COVID-19.
There are a number of factors we will consider when determining if/when it is safe to transition to blended or in-person learning, including:
- The number of positive COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents in Ramsey County.
- Consultation with local and state public health officials, and our health services staff on the effects and transmissibility of COVID-19 on various age groups of students.
- Observations on the health and safety experiences of other local and national school re-openings.
- Our capability to adequately serve students who choose Distance Learning Academy and blended learning models.
- Feedback from families, staff and students through our advisory committees, testimony to the board, and through other channels such as emails, surveys and phone calls.
Q. What is happening with athletics and activities this fall?
A. See the Athletics/Activities tab to the left.
Q. Will you eliminate locker use?
A. That is under discussion. No shared lockers, and limiting locker use during the day is likely.
Q. What if I need a Chromebook or iPad or access to the internet to participate in distance learning?
A. If you need a device, there is a form linked in the first sentence of our Distance Learning Technology Support page. Complete that form and staff will contact you to meet your needs. Some families want to purchase their own devices and ask about required specifications. Our Chromebook models have 4 gigs of RAM memory and a 16 gig hard drive. Any brand new Chromebook model will exceed these specifications. You should be fine choosing any model that fits your budget. Note that many Chromebooks models have been on backorder for months around the country. If you are purchasing your own, consider getting it at a big boxes store instead of a mail-order vendor to ensure your order isn't delayed.
Q. Will there be daily temperature checks for students coming on-site to school? What about staff?
A. All students and staff are asked to conduct a daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms at home. Download a simple tool to help you conduct your daily symptom check. This daily screening for symptoms is very important to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff.
Q. Why aren’t schools performing daily temperature and health checks on-site?
A. Given the number of students arriving at school sites each day, conducting health screenings as students arrive could encourage congregating. There are a variety of factors that could cause temperature checks to be inaccurate upon arrival (a very warm or cold day or children who are wearing hats and all bundled up, etc.).
If a student were to arrive not feeling well or develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while they are at school, the student will be removed to a space dedicated for isolation while awaiting pickup.
It’s important to remember, too, that during this time of COVID, people can still experience other symptoms (allergy symptoms, for example) and may contract other illnesses (like influenza or strep throat). MDH provides clear guidance on this decision-making for school health teams, school staff, and parents.
Q. Will my student be required to wear a mask during school.
A. Yes. Under the governor's statewide mask mandate, all students and staff in district buildings will be required to wear a face covering, with a few specific exceptions. Read the requirements from the governor's executive order, as well as exemptions. The district has ordered reusable washable masks in both child and adult sizes for all of our students who need them.
Q. If a sensory-sensitive child is having anxiety issues wearing their mask, will they be allowed to take small mask breaks or be excused from wearing masks altogether?
A. We will have some child-sized face shields available for students in exceptional circumstances, such as above. This is something you can also provide for your child for school. Anyone who needs a break from wearing a mask will be offered that option, but then they need to maintain six feet or greater distance from others and breaks should be brief.
Q. How will you track where a student is throughout the day for contact tracing?
A. This is still being determined, but there will be a system, and it will be linked to attendance and health office staff.
Q. Will the school have contact tracers or will the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) be performing contact tracings?
A. MDH is taking the lead on contact tracing and is working with schools to establish procedures. There will be regional teams in place to support the school. School nurses will be closely involved. It is imperative that families and staff notify the school when they have a case, and we can start the process in collaboration with MDH.
Q. Will you require quarantine of any students that had a high-risk exposure to another student or teacher at school?
A. We will follow MDH exclusion guidelines for quarantine and isolation. Quarantine is for anyone who is a close contact, meaning within six feet for greater than 15 minutes. MDH will also look at the situation and decide if there are other factors that indicate someone was a close contact and needs to quarantine. You can read specific guidance to schools from MDH about how to handle positive cases of COVID-19.
Q. What is the district doing about air quality in schools?
A. Roseville Area Schools, as required by state statute, has had a written Indoor Air Quality Plan for several years. District buildings and grounds staff, along with our heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) consultants have been working at our buildings this summer to ensure that our classrooms will have maximum fresh air inflow. Various repairs have been made in our facilities. In addition, the remodeled and newly constructed areas have been updated to provide improved indoor air quality. In addition, we have disabled sensors that were installed to improve building efficiency in order to increase fresh air intake. We know it is important to purge our building before and after occupancy. In order to do this we will be starting building systems several hours before occupancy and leave running several hours after occupancy. The blended learning model of maintaining our classrooms at half capacity will also improve indoor air quality.
Q. Are there going to be increased cleaning procedures in buildings?
A. Custodians will clean and disinfect the common areas in buildings daily. Classrooms will be cleaned daily and disinfected on Tuesdays and Fridays, between cohorts of students. The custodial staff has been equipped with battery-operated sprayers to increase efficiency and accuracy in disinfecting high touch surfaces. We have also equipped our custodial staff with restroom cleaners that will increase the cleaning and disinfecting capabilities of restrooms district-wide. Teachers will have sanitizer for use throughout the day as needed on high touch areas in the classroom.
Q. How will the full-time distance learning option differ from the spring 2020 experience?
A. Read about Distance Learning 2.0, which is more intentional and offers a significant upgrade in experience from our crisis-response distance learning from the spring.
Q. If I choose to have my student start the year in the blended learning option (a mix of in-school and distance learning), and we decide that we are not comfortable with it, will we be able to switch to full-time distance learning?
A. Yes, you will be able to switch to full-time distance learning whenever you feel it is the best choice for your family. Switching the other way, from full-time distance learning to the blended option can be done at the end of the first and second trimesters (December 7 and March 15).
Q. Will there be dedicated educators for those who choose the full-time distance learning option?
A. We are still determining the staffing plan, and hope to share information soon.
Q. Will there be band or choir?
A. The state released guidance on music classes on August 13, which we are currently reviewing and will determine how we are able to proceed with music classes.
Q. Why would I choose the Distance Learning Academy option if the district transitions to blended or in-person learning?
A. Choosing to enroll in the Distance Learning Academy guarantees you will not be required to transition from a distance learning scenario to a face-to-face scenario for the 2020-21 school year.
Q. What is the start date for the Roseville Area Schools Distance Learning Academy?
A. All students will begin school September 8 or 9 with their classroom peers and remain in their currently enrolled home schools and classrooms until a transition is made to the blended learning scenario. At the point of this transition, Distance Learning Academy students will continue their learning remotely while some of their peers move to the blended learning scenario.
Q. If my student enrolls in the Distance Learning Academy, will they maintain their place in their currently enrolled school for the 2021-22 school year?
A. Yes, students enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy will maintain their enrollment in their home school for the 2021-22 school year.
Q. What is the process for moving out of the Distance Learning Academy should I choose to do so?
A. Students moving out of the Distance Learning Academy will only occur at trimester breaks. Students moving into the Distance Learning Academy will happen as requested throughout the trimester based on student need.
Q. Will the Distance Learning Academy be on the same calendar as my student’s currently enrolled school?
A. Students in the Distance Learning Academy will maintain the same calendar schedule as their currently enrolled school.
Q. Will students in the dual-language immersion program receive immersion instruction?
A. Yes, dual-language immersion (DLI) students enrolled in the Distance Learning Academy will begin the school year in their regular class at their school of enrollment. During this time all DLI students will receive the same level of DLI instruction. If the district moves to a blended learning scenario, DLI students in the Distance Learning Academy will continue to receive immersion instruction, though possibly at a reduced level compared to their peers in blended or in-person learning.
Q. What will the daily schedule be for my student?
A. Distance Learning Academy students will begin the year at their home school following the daily schedule of their home school. If the district transitions to a blended learning scenario, it's possible the daily schedule for the Distance Learning Academy students may be modified.
Q. Will school support services, such as English language development and special education services be available to students?
A. Yes, school support services will be available to students, including pre-K Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).
Q. What will blended learning look like for my student?
A. The Blended Learning Overview tab on the left of this page provides an overview.
Q. Will schools offer hot lunch? If so, will meals be individually plated? Will there be any self-serve food stations? Will students eat in the classrooms or cafeterias?
A. If we are operating in the blended learning scenario, schools will still offer breakfast and hot lunch. All items will be served on individual trays or in bags (breakfast to go), with a wrapped single-use utensil and napkin. There will be no self-serve items. We are putting a temporary hold on all self-serve fruit and veggies bars, hydration stations, condiment bars, and even helping our littlest ones with milk so they only touch one carton. This will vary by site. In locations where students are not able to socially distance in the cafeterias, we may have to have students take food into the classrooms. This will depend, in part, on how many families opt their students into full-time distance learning.
Q. How will kids socially distance while eating, as that is a high-risk circumstance because of the lack of source control?
A. In the blended learning scenario, some students will eat in their classroom, some may have a distanced cohort in the cafeteria. Details are being worked on, and it may differ from school to school, depending on the number of students who opt into full-time distance learning and how that impacts class sizes. There will be supervision to remind students to keep socially distanced.