Dear Northfield Public Schools Families:
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. This week, we welcomed our youngest learners in Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Our schools’ reports indicate a positive return for these students and staff to campus.
Return to campus plans on track
» View the return to campus plan
Our return-to-campus plan continues forward. We plan to bring students in Grades 3-5 back to campus on February 1 in the in-person learning model, five days per week. Students in Grades 3-5 will have no distance learning classes on January 27 and 28 so their teachers can prepare to return to in-person learning. There are no classes for any district students on January 29 because it is a planned end-of-semester grading day for teachers.
We intend to bring middle school, high school, and Area Learning Center students back to campus in a hybrid model as planned beginning February 2nd. Schools will use the same schedule they used prior to distance learning. Each school will send you information about their specific schedule. There are no distance learning classes for any students on January 29 nor February 1 so that teachers can prepare for students’ return to campus.
The District has consulted with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regional support team about bringing students back to campus despite the Rice County infection rate remaining around 60 per 10,000 residents. The regional support team had no objections to our plan and indicated it was “solid and well thought out.”
The impact of the county infection rate has evolved since the implementation of the safe learning plan last summer. While it is still a key indicator, MDH asks us to look at several other factors. These additional factors include the more localized infection data within our school community and the ability to implement the hybrid model’s safety protocols.
Last week, I shared a concern with the increase in infection rate among 15-18-year-olds. This increase appeared to be a result of gatherings at the end of the holiday season and that data has improved over the last week in our school district. We must continue to influence our teenagers to follow the safety protocols when they are outside of home and school to keep them learning on campus.
Be Prepared for Changes
We all understand that this year is about flexibility. Data shows that our safety protocols successfully prevented the transmission of COVID-19 during the school day this fall. We will prioritize our students’ and staff’s health and safety by emphasizing these measures. Despite these efforts, we know the coronavirus is relentless and additional changes may be necessary throughout the year. I am grateful for your cooperation, understanding, and grace as we navigate this unusual school year.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools