(NOTE: this article has been updated to include the text of the governor’s letter, and a list of personnel defined as “essential workers”.)

Rick Ellingworth, Superintendent of the Redwood Area School District, sent the following notification Tuesday morning:

Leadership of the Redwood Area School District (RASD) is hereby informing you that as of today,
March 17th, 2020 at 5:30 pm, RASD will be closing the day care services we provide to all Cardinal Kids
Club and School Age Child Care families.

As directed by Governor Walz, we will begin offering Childcare for children age three (3) through age
twelve (12) for the family of all “Essential Workers” (as defined by the Department of Education shown

Beginning on Wednesday March 18th, Redwood Area Schools will offer childcare to any “essential
worker” FREE OF CHARGE during our normal operating hours, 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. “Essential
Workers” may participate in this program regardless of where their child(ren) are currently enrolled in

For your information, children who are preschool age will be attending our Cardinal Kids Club program
and children who are school-age will be attending our School Age Child Care program. All of these
services and programs will be provided at Reede Gray Elementary School. We ask you to enter the
building through the Early Childhood doors located on the North East Corner of Reede Gray Elementary School.

In addition, the Redwood Area Food Service provider (Taher Inc.) will be providing a breakfast and lunch for all children attending these programs. There are no charges for these meals. If you prefer, you may send meals with your child(ren).

If you are planning to utilize this service, it is very important to register your child(ren) by contacting
Andy Ourada, RASD Community Education Director at 507-644-8063 (office) or by email at
[email protected]. Evidence of your employment in one of the Essential Worker
categories will be requested. (This could be as simple as providing your workplace identification badge.)

March 16 child care provider update from Governor and Lt. Governor 

Dear Child Care Providers: 

In our letter yesterday, we assured you that we would make communicating with you a priority. The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to our state and our situation is changing rapidly. 

Today I signed an Executive Order that included closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars for dine-in customers as well as other places of public accommodation and amusement. This Executive Order does not direct child care centers or family child care to close. That said, based on this Executive Order and the new guidelines from the federal government to limit groups to the size of ten, we know that many of you may be considering closing, which is understandable. The health of your staff, families, and children is my top priority and I know it is yours too. 

As childcare providers, you play a critical role in our communities persevering through this health crisis. We would appreciate if you continued to care for kids and their families and would like to support you if you decide to remain open. For any providers who choose to stay open during this time, if your staff are ill, and need to be tested for COVID-19, we will prioritize the testing of these staff in our lab. Also, if you do stay open, we encourage you to prioritize serving children of health care and emergency workers. We would ask: 

  • If a family does not include health care or emergency workers, ask them to keep their children home or use a family, friend or neighbor to provide care in order to make capacity for new families. 
  • Consider expanding your hours to accommodate longer shifts of emergency workers. 
  • Let us know if you are choosing to remain open and if so, how many children you could serve here. We are working with community partners to identify families in need. 

With this new guidance, the social distancing of children will require new practices. For larger childcare settings this could include separating or staggering multiple smaller groups within your facility. Complete updated guidance can be found here. 

During this time of emergency, we need leaders to stand up and help our emergency services continue to operate. Remaining open, even at reduced capacity, can help enable emergency and healthcare workers to do their jobs. Should you decide to close, we would ask that you consider continuing to care for children of health care and other emergency workers in your community. 

Again, for those providers who are willing to continue to serve families of health care and emergency workers, we will prioritize you in COVID-19 testing. 

We recognize this time is challenging for everyone, and particularly our child care providers. We will work with you as we move forward to try to mitigate the impact this crisis is having on our state. 

We will get through this together. Thank you for the work you do every day to education our children – and for your leadership during this unprecedented time. 

Governor Tim Walz 

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan 

Before and After Care 

UPDATED 3/16/20: All before- and after-care/school age care programs provided in schools (either by the school district or charter or by a community partner) are suspended until in-person school resumes. MDE strongly recommends that all districts and charters identify and coordinate with any community partners that provide before- and after-care programs and send communication to families regarding their options for before- and after-care. 

List of Essential Workers 

Healthcare personnel include: 

  • Personnel needed for direct care and critical administrative staff of the personnel needed for direct care 
  • Long-term facility personnel (full-time) o Group Homes o Residential Homes o Nursing Homes 
  • Post-acute Care personnel (full-time) o Long-term hospital o In-patient rehabilitation o Home Health 
  • Skilled nurses 

Emergency Medical Services personnel (full-time): 

  • Paramedics 
  • EMTs 
  • Immediate supervisory staff 
  • EMS Operators and dispatchers 

Law Enforcement personnel: 

  • Full-time Police Officers and their supervisory staff 
  • Full-time Sheriffs and their supervisory staff 
  • Full-time State Patrol Officers and their supervisory staff 
  • 911 Operators and dispatchers their supervisory staff 
  • Full-time Investigators (at the discretion of their Agency Chief) 

Firefighter personnel: 

  • Full-time firefighters 
  • Paid on call duty crew 

All public school personnel: 

  • Teachers 
  • Administrators and Directors 
  • Paraprofessionals 
  • All support staff 
  • Bus Transportation Personnel 
  • Food Service Providers 

Personnel providing Correctional services: 

Minnesota Correctional Facility Staff: 

  • Corrections officers 
  • Correctional Lieutenants 
  • Correctional Captains 
  • Physical plant 
  • Correctional facility case managers 
  • Correctional facility educators and educational paraprofessionals 
  • Wardens 
  • Associate wardens 
  • Correctional facility office assistants 
  • Correctional facility nurses and supervisors 
  • Correctional program therapists 
  • Correctional facility IT staff 
  • Correctional facility Human Resources staff 
  • Correctional facility financial services personnel 
  • Correctional facility records personnel 
  • Correctional facility safety officers 

Centralized Correctional Operations Personnel 

  • Medical director 
  • Director of health services 
  • Reentry Services personnel 
  • Policy and legal services personnel 
  • Offender transportation personnel 
  • Centralized records personnel 
  • Centralized human resources personnel 
  • Investigators – Office of Special Investigations/Professional Accountability 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections personnel assigned to Incident Management Team 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections personnel assigned to Continuity of Operations team 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections government and community relations personnel 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections Hearings and Release Unit personnel 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections Behavioral Health Unit personnel 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections – Communications Unit 
  • Minnesota Department of Corrections – Office of Commissioner 

Minnesota Correctional Supervision Services 

  • State Probation officers and supervisors 
  • State Probation agents and supervisors 
  • State Supervised release agents and supervisors 
  • State intensive supervised release agents and supervisors 
  • County Probation officers and supervisors 
  • County Probation agents and supervisors 
  • County Supervised release agents and supervisors 
  • County intensive supervised release agents and supervisors 

Public Health employees: 

  • State and local public health employees directly supporting the response of COVID-19 and other infectious disease operations 
  • State and local public health officials responding to imminent public health threats 
  • Newborn health screeners 
  • State and local public health lab priority services 
  • County Emergency staff and managers supporting COVID-19 
  • Emergency Management essential personnel supporting COVID-19 

Court Personnel: 

  • Full-time Court personnel