Dear Northfield Public Schools Families:
We’ve made it to February! Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we continue to work through the twists and turns of this most unusual school year.
This week, we welcome students in Grades 3-12 back to campus. Our 3rd-5th grade students are back on campus every day. Our 6th-12th grade students are back using the same hybrid learning model we used in the fall.
We must follow the safety protocols to ensure that we can keep our students on campus. A few items for your consideration:
- Ensure you complete the daily self-screening using this checklist. If you need a thermometer to conduct the daily temperature check, please contact your school office. We have plenty available to share with families.
- Keep your child home if they are ill. Consult the Minnesota Department of Health decision tree for more information.
- Please make sure you wear masks, maintain social distancing, frequently wash your hands, and avoid large gatherings.
I understand that this has been a long and frustrating time for us. We are growing tired of following the protocols. Hearing about vaccination has us feeling hopeful. However, we need to double down on the safety protocols. I encourage you to review the current MDH guidelines and ask that you specifically consider avoiding extended gatherings of students, such as birthday parties and sleepovers. These kinds of events are wonderful but can lead to more significant exposures, resulting in an increased risk for quarantining and missing school.
Communication about COVID-19
Now that students are back on campus, we will return to our standard COVID-19 communication protocols. The District will notify students’ families when they are identified as a close contact to a laboratory-positive COVID-19 case individually. The District will update its dashboard daily when necessary and send families a weekly report of the number of cases in the District. These communication procedures are intended to keep families informed while also honoring the privacy of those who contract the coronavirus.
So far, approximately 140 of 630 regular staff members have been vaccinated or are on a waitlist for vaccination through a local partnership with Northfield Hospital + Clinics and a statewide pilot program for educators. Recently, the Minnesota Department of Education notified school districts that the State will manage educator vaccinations moving forward.
Black History Month and I Love to Read Month
In February, we celebrate both Black history and the love of reading. I encourage you to check out the excellent resources for Black History Month offered through the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. A good “I love to read month” resource to support literacy in your home can be found here: Reading Rockets – Tips for Parents.
Please know how much we appreciate the support of our school community. The challenges we have faced have been daunting, but we maintain optimism. From time to time, there is disagreement about how to best address the difficulties in front of us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is further away than we would like, but we can at least (finally) see it. I’ve said many times that we want to look back on this experience and be proud of how we treated each other during it. I have faith that our school community will continue to support each other.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools