***en Español***

Dear Northfield Public School Families:

Thank you for your continued patience, grace, and flexibility as we prepare to launch the 2020-2021 school year. We have enjoyed seeing families at our schools and via video conference this week during family conferences. We held these conferences to learn how things have been going for your family and share information to help you navigate this school year.

If you still need to sign up for a family conference, please contact your student’s school. There are still times available on Friday, September 11.

Our district has worked to provide the safest environment practicable for our students and staff. Part of that safety protocol includes required face masks. Students have been provided with a face mask from the school during family conferences (or will be provided one on the first day of school.) Students will be provided with another face mask when our next shipment arrives. If you still need a face mask, please contact your child’s school. It is vital to note that face shields are not an acceptable substitution for a mask without a medical provider’s letter explaining why a face shield should be used instead of a mask.

Your family must conduct daily health screenings for your children. You can read the latest list of symptoms here. A daily temperature check is part of the daily health screening. If you need a thermometer, we have them available for any family that needs one. You can pick one up at your family conference or contact your school office to receive one.

If you did not receive a face mask or thermometer at your family conference, you can request one from your child’s school.

It will be our collective effort to mitigate the virus. Washing hands frequently with soap and water, wearing a face mask, maintaining six feet of physical distancing, and staying home when ill

Decision Tree/Make a Plan MN
The Minnesota Department of Health has provided school districts with explicit directions about symptoms that require students and staff to remain home. Families should review this flow chart to increase their understanding of the possible length that students and siblings may need to quarantine if someone in the household becomes ill.

» Read the MDH Decision Tree

Please note that medical certification will be required for students (or their siblings) to return to school if they have been quarantined because of COVID-19 symptoms or provided an alternate diagnosis to explain the symptoms. This requirement is to prioritize the health of our students and staff.

I encourage you to visit the Make a Plan MN website to develop contingency plans should your family become ill and need to quarantine.

Last week, the District hosted a webinar discussion with local pediatricians Dr. Heidi Kram and Dr. Ben Flannery; Rice County Public Health Community Supervisor Sara Coulter, the District’s COVID-19 Coordinator Cheryl Hall, and the District’s licensed school nurse Maimouna Toure-Keita. This webinar discussed the decision tree and face mask requirements.

» View the recording of the webinar
(closed captioning in English and Spanish available)

Free Meals
Our free meal program has been extended through December 31, 2020, as provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. All students enrolled in the school district — regardless of the learning model — can receive free breakfast and lunch every day. It is possible that the program could end before December 31 if the funding is depleted.

Even though all students will be receiving free meals during this time, it is essential that you complete the meal benefit application.  Families will return to paying full price for meals on January 1, 2021 (or earlier, if the funding is exhausted) if they do not qualify for free or reduced meals.

Roundabout construction
As previously communicated, construction of the new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 246 (Division Street) and Jefferson Parkway will continue beyond the start of school. The current timeline has the project concluding in mid-October. Please plan your travel to school accordingly. Please also understand this is a short-term inconvenience. We value your patience.

Vehicles are not allowed to use the Bridgewater Elementary parking lot as a shortcut from Jefferson Parkway to Highway 246 (Division Street.) School busses will be permitted to pass through the Bridgewater parking lots to help with the bus route times for students. We thank the Northfield Police Department for their assistance in supporting our traffic management.

Here we go…
Our Northfield Public Schools staff have been working diligently to prepare for students’ return next week — whether that be in-person at the elementary school level, in the hybrid learning model at Northfield Middle School and High School, or the all-the-time-online Portage learning option.

We have an unusual school year ahead of us. Our biggest foe is the unknown — and the unknown is a formidable opponent. As a community, we will face the unknown together. In many cases, our planning for this less predictable school year will have been right-on. In others, we will have missed the mark. When we miss the mark, we will work to improve the situation.

I am proud of how our Northfield community has come together during these challenging times. Let’s keep working together to make this school year the best it can be.



Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools