Dear Northfield Public Schools Families:
At a press conference this morning, Governor Walz announced he is ordering Minnesota school districts close their campuses from March 18-27, 2020 to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Our plans are developing quickly and we will have much more information to share with you in the future. The health of students, families, staff and our community is our top priority. Many details about the topics below will be shared with you on Monday, March 16. For now, I wanted to communicate some very important information.
- We will operate with a regular schedule on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Families may opt to keep their students at home and this will be considered an excused absence. Please continue to follow our regular process of contacting the school if your student will be absent on either of these days.
- There will be no school or e-Learning days scheduled for March 18, 19, and 20. This is an adaptation of our e-Learning plan based on this emergency situation and it will allow teachers time to prepare longer-term online learning approaches should school closures extend beyond this initial period.
- All after school activities, practices, events, and building rentals are canceled beginning Monday, at least through the end of Spring Break on March 30. This includes all Community Education programs.
- Students will be able to check out as many school library books as they would like to support their literacy during the closure and over Spring Break.
- Students in grades 3-5 will bring their school iPads home with them on Tuesday, March 17. Families in grades 3-5 will receive additional instructions for their students from the District in a separate message. The District will provide insurance for these students’ iPads.
- KidVentures and EarlyVentures will operate using a regular schedule Monday and Tuesday and will not be available between March 18 and March 30.
- Students with a need can access free meals on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week at a minimum. We will provide detailed information about available food service on Monday, March 16.
- Child care for parents who are healthcare workers or emergency workers will be provided. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide additional services to families in other professions. We will provide detailed information about child care services for those who qualify on Monday, March 16.
- Internet access at home will be an important part of your child’s education during this period. Internet service providers including Charter Spectrum are providing free access to families impacted by school closures. For more information, visit: https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist
- We are planning to reopen schools with a regular schedule on Tuesday, March 31, however, it is possible that may change.
- We are committed to compensating our regularly scheduled employees for any lost time due to COVID-19 related closures. I am grateful for their flexibility and partnership.
- The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has prepared guidance for parents to talk with their children about COVID-19.
You may see other schools that are following a different timeline regarding closure and distance learning. Many of these districts are currently on Spring Break and made the decision not to re-open this week. Private and charter schools may also make unique decisions based on their unique circumstances. We respect their decisions and recognize that each school community must make the best decision for their students, families and staff.
Thank you for your understanding, patience, support, and forgiveness during this rapidly changing pandemic health crisis. The safety and support of our students, families, staff, and communities are our top priority. The District will continue to update families on weekdays, even over spring break, with additional information and on weekends as needed.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools