Northfield Public Schools Families,
Thank you, families, for your patience, understanding, support, and forgiveness during this difficult time for all of us. I am grateful for our outstanding staff and the amazing effort our teachers, administrators, and support staff are doing for our students and families during this global pandemic health crisis. As a reminder, we will hold a regular school schedule on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. We are excusing all absences for families who wish to keep their children at home. Schools will close on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, through at least the end of spring break. I am focusing on six key items. Please review previous messages from the district for more information. All of our family communications are archived here.
- Child care for emergency and health care workers. During the statewide closure of Minnesota schools, Northfield Public Schools will provide childcare for children in Kindergarten through age 12 from families of healthcare workers and other emergency providers. This childcare is available for families of healthcare workers and other emergency providers ONLY regardless of whether they have used Northfield Public Schools Kid Ventures school-age care services in the past. Kid Ventures will be closed for all other families. In order to prepare for the appropriate number of children, we are asking that you complete this survey if you plan to access the service. ****Please complete this survey that is vital to our childcare planning by 2:00 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.****
- Food distribution for students in need. We will begin food distribution for students in need beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. The service will be “drive-through” at Greenvale Park, Sibley, and Northfield High School and any site is available to students regardless of which school they attend. We also accept walk-ups or bikers. Students will be provided with a “grab and go” breakfast and lunch and must be present to pick up meals.
- Internet access needs: While we know that nearly all families in the District have access to internet service, we will help guide families with limited or no access to free resources being made available during this emergency situation. Charter Spectrum is offering free service beginning today for 60 days. Families must access this option individually. The District is happy to assist with questions. Some cellular providers like T-Mobile are providing unlimited data to customers, so you may be able to turn your phone “hotspot” on to allow this access. Finally, the district will have access to 50 T-Mobile standalone “hotspots” for those who cannot access the free Charter Spectrum service or use their own cellular phone as a “hotspot.” The District will provide more information on how to request one of these “hotpots” in a future communication.
- Gathering information on family needs: The District is making every effort to best support our students and families. To that end, we are asking all students and their families to complete a survey through Skyward Family Access. Use the following links for directions on completing the survey.
- Distance learning (e-Learning) planning: The District plans to use its e-Learning plan as a foundation for the distance learning plan that will be used in the event the current statewide closure is extended beyond the current time frame. See the following documents that contain information from Director of Technology Services Kim Briske about the developing support for students, families, and staff for any potential extended closure. The earliest any distance learning will start in Northfield is March 31, 2020. The documents below are being translated into Spanish and will be available very soon in that language.
- Our own mental health. Finally, during this global pandemic health crisis, we are focused on containing the spread of the virus. Of almost equal importance is our own mental health. I have previously shared the guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists for talking with children about COVID-19. I want all of us to intentionally consider our own mental health during this stressful time. Northfield High School school psychologist Carrie Duba encourages us all to watch this video about taking care of ourselves during this global pandemic health crisis.
Again, thank you for your patience, understanding, support, and forgiveness during this global pandemic health crisis. I am grateful for each and every one of you.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools