I want to commend you and your students for your partnership in our distance learning model. While the model has been successful overall, I know it has been a hard transition. As human beings, we all thrive on interpersonal relationships. While there is room for improvement, I am proud of everyone’s work to continue learning despite the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
At this time of the year, I usually use a running metaphor with our staff that we need to “sprint through the finish line.” While this is a different environment, we will finish the school year strong.
Please see this previous communication and messages from your school principal about the plans for the end of the school year, with formal instruction finishing on May 29, 2020.
You may have seen national news coverage that Rice County has had one of the highest day-over-day infection rates in the country. I encourage you to listen to this excellent KYMN radio interview with Rice County Public Health Director Deb Purfeerst about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Rice County. Rice County Public Health also has some fantastic resources on its coronavirus website, including hotlines you can call with questions
As we finish the school year, many pundits are speculating about how (or if) we will start next school year. If we know anything, it is that the pandemic can require quick action and is rapidly changing. Northfield Public Schools are involved with various agencies to develop contingency models for a variety of return-to-school options that I will highlight in future communications.
A couple of other notes:
- We have had a few cases of families losing internet service due to nonpayment. After working with Charter, the service for these families was restored. Charter recommends that families encountering financial difficulties, make them aware: “Apparently the issue is that customers need to tell us that they are having a hardship due to COVID-19, and then they are protected from disconnection. If they tell us they cannot pay their bills due to COVID-19, their internet service will be protected through June 30.”
- The District’s free child care program for school-aged children of health care and emergency workers will end on June 5. Community Education is finalizing details for a summer, fee-based program. Watch for additional information from community education.
- The District is planning to continue free meals for children at least through June 30. We are working to interpret new federal guidance about serving meals beyond that date. Please watch our Facebook page for site location changes.
- All students (except seniors, obviously) with a district-issued iPad at home will keep them for the summer. If you would prefer to turn in your student’s district-issued iPad, please watch for a future communication with the dates and times for curb-side iPad return.
I wish all of you a happy Memorial Day weekend. Please consider watching the City of Northfield’s virtual celebration event at: https://bit.ly/3e0emej. We are grateful to our fellow Americans who gave what President Abraham Lincoln called the “last full measure of devotion” to our nation.
Once again, thank you for your partnership, support, understanding, and forgiveness as we all continue adapting to the changes caused by the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools