***en Español***

Greetings, Northfield Public Schools Families:

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and support throughout the first two weeks of school. Whether learning on campus or at home, our students and families have demonstrated the ability to adjust to our circumstances. While this year will continue to be abnormal, we are working to establish routines to the best of everyone’s abilities.

Double-down on virus prevention. We need to maintain the practices we know have the most impact on preventing the spread of COVID-19: frequently washing hands with hot water and soap, wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and staying home when sick.

Please make sure to complete the daily health screening with each of your children. If your child has one of the more common symptoms or two of the less common symptoms, please make sure they stay home (andall siblings) as described in the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) decision tree. If you want to learn more about the decision tree, you can watch a recording of a webinar that I hosted with local pediatricians and Rice County Public Health last August.

Additionally, an annual influenza vaccination is recommended by both the MDH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent and control seasonal influenza. MDE provides information on how you can find a flu vaccine clinic near you.

It is clear our collective effort is needed to keep COVID-19 at bay. Following these recommended health practices will give us our best chance.

The roundabout is on track. The roundabout construction at the intersection of Division Street (Highway 246) and Jefferson Parkway is on track to be completed on time. The City of Northfield expects the new roundabout, with four pedestrian underpasses, to open on or around October 23, 2020. You can keep up-to-date on the project via the City’s website.

Two more high school sports added to fall. Last week, the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors voted to re-activate the fall football and volleyball seasons. Practices for these sports begin today. It is important to note that the MSHSL does not allow any spectators for volleyball and there is a limit of 250 spectators for football. The 250 spectator tickets will be divided between the two teams playing, giving Northfield 125 spectator tickets per game. Tickets for football will be sold in advance and team parents will be prioritized for the tickets. Unfortunately, walk-up tickets will not be available.

School Board to consider new policies. Our School Board will be considering two new policies at their regular meeting tonight. When the Board considers policy, it hears the policy at one meeting and usually votes whether or not to approve the policy at its next meeting, so there will not be any vote this evening. The first policy, 809, would govern how the District names school buildings. The proposed policy would prohibit the District from naming school buildings after individuals or families, historical or contemporary. The policy also directs the District to rename existing facilities that do not meet the new criteria within one year from the time the policy is approved. This change would impact two school buildings in the District: Longfellow School and Sibley Elementary. The “why” behind this policy proposal is to ensure a consistent naming practice within the school district and to avoid issues that can detract from our vision to support every student. The second policy, 810, would govern sponsorship of spaces, materials, and equipment within the District.

While the Board continually reviews and considers policy changes related to the District’s management, the new policies being considered would result in action that would be more apparent to the public than usual. Again, there will not be any vote taken this evening, but I wanted you to know about this discussion. You can always review the School Board agendas, packets, and minutes by visiting the school website.

Thank you. Our vision is to prepare every learner for lifelong success in a world-class learning environment with a commitment to community partnerships and sustainability. Once again, thank you for your partnership with our school district. We will need to continue supporting each other to effectively meet the challenges faced by the COVID-19 global health emergency.


Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools