With Great Appreciation

It is difficult to fully comprehend what our society might face in the weeks ahead. We have great appreciation for our health care professionals and emergency personnel who are on the front lines of this pandemic.  During this time of uncertainty and adversity we should all feel confident and have a peace of mind that we are all in this together.  We should feel fortunate to live and raise children surrounded by people who are willing to step up when needed.  Their deeds are motivated by the greater good which is the good of our children, neighbors, and community.   I am greatly humbled by the support the community is always willing to provide our school, the children we serve, and each other.

Moving Us Forward

From my personal perspective, I am sadden for our kids and staff if last Tuesday will be the last “regular” school day of this year.  The possible sudden end deprived all students (especially our seniors) great moments, experiences, and memories.  I know it does no good to whine or immiserate over things we can’t control, but a school without the kids just feels wrong to me.

Our focus right now at school is put our efforts to feed kids, provide school age care for essential employees, and to make the best of this situation for your children and family where we can move their learning forward because “learning matters.”

School “Distance Learning” Plan Design Wants to Be Family Friendly

As a school we are working on plan developments.  If you ask me, your school teaching and support staff would have been ready this week to deliver instruction to your children.  The state has asked for the 8 day “pause” from learning and we are complying with their directive.

The school is looking at plans that we hope won’t overwhelm your children.  I am not sure if we shouldn’t consider “less is more” as students are dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now.  We want to provide that balance between moving their learning forward and not add stress or anxiety.  Our children are more “in tune” with what is going on around them than we may all realize.

The school realizes the possible length of time with this statewide school closure makes this different in some ways than our “digital days” as they only would last a day or two.   We are working on logistics that will be age appropriate and where students can complete necessary school materials independently (to the greatest extent).  We hope to have aligned if a child needs help, we can help.  We certainly don’t want this “distance learning” experience where mom and dad come home from work daily and are spending hours completing school work adding to the stress/anxiety.

Friday, March 20th, we are planning on doing test runs with the staff with the best means of interacting with students via technology.   This is a requirement with the state distance learning plan.  This is a different requirement that goes beyond posting an informative instructional video on a website.

Internet Logistics and Possible Family Options

From survey data we understand most families have internet available at home and understand there are some that do not. We are looking at how we can fill the gaps.  We are analyzing public WIFI options and consulting with communities on understanding what is available.  I have attached a correspondence from Nuvera on internet options for families.  I have heard ARVIG (for folks in the Clements area) have free internet offers for families in need.

Added Meal Service Drop-Off Sites starting Wednesday, March 18th

In an effort to make meals more accessible, the district has coordinated with the bus contractor, Superior Transportation, the following meal drop off sites and times.   Please note locations may have different times.  There will be no meals consumed inside the buildings at the pick-up sites.  The idea is the meals are made to ‘grab and go’.

Springfield Available Locations

Springfield Public School Cafeteria- door W6: from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Springfield North Park (Maple St. and Van Buren Ave):    from 11:00 a.m. until 11:10 a.m.

Springfield Public Library:                                           from 11:15 a.m. until 11:25 a.m.

Riverbluff Apartments: (Riverside Dr.)                           from 11:40 a.m. until 11:50a.m.

Other Available Locations

Sanborn Community Center:                                     from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Clements Fire Hall:                                                       from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Comfrey Fire Hall:                                                         from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Cobden Community Park:                                           from 11:00 a.m. until 11:10 a.m.

Leavenworth Japanese Martyr Parking lot:           from 11:20 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Again, this is FREE OF CHARGE and will function similarly as our summer meal program where it is open to any child (high school senior to age 1) regardless of where they attend school.  This program will provide a breakfast & lunch during the time of the school shutdown (Wednesday, March 18-Friday March 27). The breakfast and lunch will be delivered together, in one box or bag. The school district will notify families if this program is extended beyond March 27th

If you have not taken the meal participation survey, please do so by clicking on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7G3QKML

Completing the survey is not necessary for your participation, but this data will help us in planning how many meals to prepare.

‘School Age Care’ for Essential Employees/Emergency Workers will begin Wednesday, March 18th

The school is working on coordination of school age care needs that healthcare staff (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and assistive living), emergency/first responders, police, school staff, may have due to the statewide school closure.  The State of Minnesota expects the school to provide school age care on regularly planned school days beginning Wednesday, March 18th for students who are preschoolers through the age of 12.  Schools are to provide this at no cost for those that qualify.

To plan for Wednesday, this will be a tight turn around.  Interested families please complete the school age care survey as soon as possible.   The link is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7M7KR8S.        Employment verification may be requested.  The school will then contact participating families with necessary enrollment information.  At this time, we are trying to get a handle on how many children will need school age care services.  Breakfast and lunch will be served by the school for children who qualify and are enrolled in school age care.

Dates for this school age care will be held from March 18th through March 27th on school days.  This program may extend during the school closure time period as we learn more.  School age care will be offered between the hours of 6:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

If you have questions, please contact the Elementary Office at 507-723-4286 or District Office at 507-723-4283.

Wednesday, March 18th through Friday, March 27th–  No school.  Staff will report.

No school for students. Staff will be expected to work their regular days.  As directed by the State of Minnesota, we are not to place upon student formal educational expectations for these days (March 18-March 27).  During this time, teachers and staff will be expected to work their regular days preparing for “distance learning” activities beginning March 30th.

Beginning, Wednesday, March 18th schools are expected by the State of Minnesota to initiate these 2 programs.  1) provide school age care to health care, school staff, and emergency or essential service personnel and 2) provide available meals for students.  Specific information will follow regarding these programs.