Greetings, Northfield Public Schools Families,
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. The purpose of this message is to remind you about our transition to distance learning. On Friday, November 13th, I shared the reasons and information about the accelerated transition to distance learning. Please review the timeline for our transition to distance learning so that you can have a plan for your family.
Delay in receipt for some Skylert messages
Please note that Skylert, our messaging provider, has been experiencing some delays in delivering our messages. Some recipients receive information immediately, as usual. Other recipients have received the message several hours later. This issue is a Skylert problem that the District does not have control over. We archive all district-level updates here. In the case of an emergency, the phone call and text messaging features of Skylert are not impacted by the delays.
Distance Learning Daily Schedules
Our buildings have been finalizing the daily schedules for distance learning. Please refer to information coming from your student’s school about their building-level distance learning daily schedule.
Portage students will continue with their regular schedules and are not affected by the transitions.
Tier I Childcare
The District will offer child care for Tier I essential workers during distance learning, beginning November 19. There will be a fee for any time before or after regular school hours. Care during school hours will be free. To qualify, both parents need to be considered Tier I essential workers and be scheduled to work during regular school hours. Please contact Director of Community Education Erin Bailey with any questions about this service.
Director of Child Nutrition Stephany Stromme has provided an updated schedule for free meals.
Internet Access and Technology Support
Northfield Healthy Community Initiative is prepared to help families who need internet access or increased speed to support student academic needs during distance learning. Please go to https://northfieldpromise.org/
Parents can use the District’s technology support website to get assistance with the technology transition. Staff are working to ensure that student technology is updated and ready for distance learning before leaving campus.
MDH COVID-19 Pilot Testing Program
Northfield Public Schools has been working with the Minnesota Department of Health to have an optional pilot testing program for staff and students within the District. We had a tentative start date of November 18 for the pilot, but the program has been delayed. Please watch for a future communication with details.
The Coming Weeks: Precautions Necessary
The Minnesota Department of Health has indicated we are entering a critical stage of fighting the coronavirus. Our collective efforts will determine how quickly we can return students to our campuses. Please, make sure to follow these protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19:
Avoid large gatherings and strictly limit indoor social gatherings.
Maintain at least six feet of physical distance.
Wear a face mask in public.
Wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands.
Stay home when you are feeling ill.
Get a COVID-19 test if you are displaying the associated symptoms. You can now get free at-home saliva testing kits delivered to your home. Visit the following web site for more information:
Mental Health Supports
As we enter winter, we also have to prioritize strategies to support our mental health in this challenging time. Ensuring that we are active outside during the winter, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping connected with others using communication tools like phone calls, text messaging, and video conferencing will help us all. Northfield Public Schools has also put together a list of resources at our virtual relaxation room. You can access it at the web site below:
Finally, if you are experiencing severe mental health issues, please immediately contact your physician. There is no shame in seeking assistance. It is easy to see and understand when we need medical attention for a physical injury. We all must come to the same understanding when we have issues impacting our mental health. Rice County Social Services offers a variety of supports for people. If you are in crisis, please call their 24-hour helpline at 1-800-422-1286.
Thank you for your continued cooperation, grace, and forgiveness as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no playbook for addressing this relentless virus. I’ve said it several times before: when the pandemic ends — and it will, we don’t know when, but it will — we want to be proud of how our community treated each other during it. I am confident that our Northfield Public Schools community will be proud of our response at these moments in history.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.