Greetings, Northfield Public Schools Families:
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. This update includes another reminder about our return to campus plan, plans for weather cancellations/delays during learning model transitions, a reminder about some important child nutrition updates, and information about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.
Return to Campus Plan
At this point, our return-to-campus plan remains as we sent it on December 18. As you know, all of our plans are subject to immediate change based on the evolving public health situation.
The District did consult with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regional support team this week to affirm our plans. The MDH regional support team indicated our plans are “solid and well thought out.” They had no objections yet encouraged continued vigilance about the level of transmission within our community.
The Rice County infection rate has been improving week-over-week for the last month. This latest data shows the two-week infection rate per 10,000 residents was 61.58. Please continue to follow the Minnesota Department of Health precautions so we can return students to school and keep them here!
One area of concern is the recent increase in the infection rate for 15-18-year-olds. The District is monitoring this data carefully. We must ensure that our high school students follow the safety precautions to limit transmission of the virus. Please encourage your students to wash their hands frequently, avoid large gatherings, wear a face mask, and maintain six feet of social distancing.
Weather cancellations or delays during learning model transitions
The plan for weather cancellations while we are transitioning back to in-person and hybrid learning will be as follows:
- If any grade level is scheduled to be on-campus in either the hybrid or in-person learning model and school is canceled for inclement weather, all grade levels and programs (including Portage) will also be canceled for the first two cancellations. We will operate a distance learning schedule with the third and subsequent cancellations. This distance learning structure will be reviewed in a future communication.
- If any grade level is scheduled to be on-campus in either the hybrid or in-person learning model and there is a two-hour late start for the students on campus, the grade levels operating in distance learning will continue with their regular online daily schedule. This applies to Portage as well.
Celebrating Dr. King
No classes are being held on Monday, January 18, 2021, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Dr. King led an inspirational life that was cut far too short. His legacy encourages and challenges us to continue developing as human beings and to make a more just and equitable nation. I ask you to take time on Monday to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and what you can take from his life to ensure racial equity in our community.
The Northfield Human Rights Commission is hosting a virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at 7 p.m. on January 18. The theme of the event is “In This Together.” The event will feature Nancy Antoine, principal of Bridgewater Elementary school, musical performances, and an open microphone for audience members to share a brief memory or vision inspired by Dr. King. The 2021 recipient of the Human Rights Award will be announced. Get details and join the event online at ci.northfield.mn.us/mlk
Child Nutrition Updates
I recommend you review 2020-21 Update No. 21 for important child nutrition updates, including information about Pandemic-EBT Benefits for Families.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools