State Guidance and Plans for Fall 2020

July 31, 2020
Dear Roseville Area Schools families, staff and community,
Yesterday, Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year.
Like all of you, we have been anxiously awaiting these back-to-school guidelines. With so many uncertainties in every aspect of our lives, not knowing what school will look like this fall has loomed large among them. We are so grateful for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. While the state’s guidance offers some clarity, there is still more than a month before school starts and the situation in Minnesota related to the COVID-19 pandemic changes regularly. The guidance is complex, and our staff are reviewing it closely. Please know that there will be much more information to share with you in the coming days and weeks.
Since before the end of last school year, we have been planning for what school might look like this fall. Staff formed dozens of working groups to consider the many ins and outs of how to provide our students with the very best education available. Our guiding principle during all of this planning was protecting the health and safety of our students, our families and our staff. I cannot overstate this: the health and safety of our students, families and staff is paramount. Our commitment to health and safety will continue to guide our decisions going forward.
As we’ve shared with you in the past, the state asked all school districts to prepare for three scenarios for returning to school this fall:
  • Scenario 1: Return to in-person learning for all students.
  • Scenario 2: Create a new blended learning approach, which combines distance-learning activities and in-person learning, but with strict social distancing and limits to the number of students and staff present at one time.
  • Scenario 3: Continue with distance learning, with improvements based upon what we learned from distance learning last spring.
The state guidance outlines parameters for when schools will shift between these three scenarios, based on current public health data, county by county. If the number of COVID-19 cases in Ramsey County increases, the scenario for how we teach school will change, becoming more restrictive.
It is important to know that Roseville Area Schools families will also be able to choose a full-time distance learning option, if that is what is best for your family.
In Roseville Area Schools, we are currently planning to begin the year in blended learning (Scenario 2) for all grades. Please note that this could change. A summary of what blended learning will look like is below, and we will share additional details soon. Please watch for a family survey early next week seeking input on several areas of our plan that we are still working on. Your input will be very important to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of all of our students. 
We will need you to inform us soon if you intend to select the full-time distance-learning option. We will send instructions early next week about selecting and informing us of this choice. Knowing how many students will select this option is critical in preparing for blended learning.

Blended learning in Roseville Area Schools

In our blended-learning plan, students will attend school in-person a minimum of two days per week. Younger students and some students involved in special education programming may attend more often based on individual learning needs. On days students are not learning in-person, distance learning activities will be provided. Classrooms will be limited to 50% capacity with physical distancing. As ordered by the governor, students and staff will be required to wear a face covering while at school, with some specific exceptions. Students will be able to wear their own mask, or a mask provided by their school. In the near future we will share with you additional precautions and procedures in place to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.
  • Pre-K: Families with students in pre-K will receive information next week about our pre-K program and options.
  • Grades K – 1: Students in kindergarten and first grade will attend school in-person four days a week, and one day will be distance learning from home.
  • Grades 2 – 6: Students in second through sixth grade will be divided into two groups (A/B) and will attend school in-person two days a week (responses to next week’s family survey will help us determine which days) and will have distance learning the other three days of the week. 
  • Grades 7 – 12: Students in grades seven through 12 will be divided into two groups (A/B) and will attend half their classes each day with lengthened class periods. This will create an improved class experience and will limit the times students are moving between classrooms.
Again, we recognize that you will have many questions about these scenarios, and what to expect in the fall. We appreciate your patience as we review the new guidance from the state and are able to share our plans in greater detail. We are committed to regular communication with you as the summer continues. We will do everything we can to best meet the needs of all of our families and staff for the upcoming school year.
We are in this together.
Aldo Sicoli

Where to learn more

Please continue to check for updates, resources and information for students, staff and families.