Dear Northfield Public Schools Families:
Today’s message includes many critical updates. Please read the entire message.
Return to Campus Plan
This week, Governor Walz updated the State’s Safe Learning Plan that prioritizes the in-person instruction of our youngest learners. Based on this new guidance, Northfield Public Schools has developed the return to campus plan linked below. Please note that the return to campus plan does not affect our Portage program. That program continues to operate on its regular schedule.
Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are using the latest research about the COVID-19 transmission rates at elementary schools and the relative safety of returning students and staff to elementary schools. The plan uses the “rolling start” required by the updated Safe Learning Plan to return students to campus gradually. All plans are subject to change with minimal notice due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic’s unpredictable nature. Our goal is to return students to campus as safely as practicable and allows for the sustainability of the in-person and/or hybrid learning models.
***The return to campus plan does not apply to Portage students. That program will continue to follow its regular schedule***
Please note that the original guidance using county COVID-19 infection rates per 10,000 residents remain intact for learning model decision-making at the middle and high school levels.
The updated Safe Learning Plan also includes new mitigation measures designed to maximize student and staff safety. These new mitigation requirements include:
- All staff must wear both a face shield and a face mask when working in a building using a hybrid or in-person learning model.
- Additional physical barriers (i.e. plexiglass divider) should be used when six feet of physical distance is not possible between an educator and a student.
- An optional staff COVID-19 testing procedure that allows for testing every other week.
- Face masks must be worn during physical education classes and at athletics practices/contests at all times.
Stage 1 Return Plan for At-Risk Learners Continues
The District has started implementing its return plan for our special education students who require the most intensive services. Please read this update from Director of Special Services Cheryl Hall for additional information.
Sunday Evening Parent Support Webinar
The District will hold its fifth parent support webinar on Sunday evening, December 20, from 6:30 pm-7:00 pm. Director of Special Services/District COVID 19 Coordinator, Cheryl Hall and I will review the return to campus plan. Spanish interpretation and closed captioning will be available.
Pulse Survey Reminder
Please participate in our second pulse survey as described in Update No. 18. The deadline for the survey is December 23, 2020.
Renaming process for Longfellow and Sibley Elementary
In October, as explained in Updates No. 2 and 3, the School Board adopted Policy 809 that governs the naming of school facilities. It prohibits naming school buildings after people (historic or contemporary) and requires the District to change existing building names within one year of the policy’s adoption. We are seeking your ideas for the names of these school buildings:
The District will accept suggestions for these school building names through December 31, 2020.
Raider Mascot Refresh
At its last meeting, the School Board directed high school administrators to create a process that would refresh the existing mascot. This issue was highlighted in Updates No. 12 and 16.
Social Studies Standards
The MDE is now accepting feedback about the first draft of new social studies standards. I encourage you to review these standards and provide feedback as requested by MDE.
District Office Move
The Northfield Public Schools’ district offices are moving to Longfellow School. This move was one component of the 2018 bond referendum. You can read more about the district office transition plan here.
Once again, thank you for your cooperation and partnership during this pandemic. I am proud of our community’s empathetic response during these challenging times.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools