Transitioning to Distance Learning for Grades PK-5

Students parents and a teacher at Richfield Middle School open house

Dear Richfield Students, Families, Staff and Community,

Due to rapidly increasing COVID-19 rates in our area, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of needing to transition all of our students in grades PK-5 to full distance learning. The last day for in-person instruction for all students currently enrolled in the hybrid program (PK-12) will be Friday, November 20. Students in grades PK-5 will have NO SCHOOL November 23-24 so that teachers can use those days to plan and prepare for the transition. The first day of full distance learning for students in grades PK-5 will be Monday, November 30.

While we have taken extensive safety precautions in our buildings to protect students and staff, we do not operate in isolation. We are part of a larger community and our students interact with families who interact with coworkers, friends, extended family, etc. As we watch the number of hospitalizations rise in our region and ICU units become scarce, we need to ask everyone in our community to do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means, we also need to do our part by moving to distance learning until the case rates drop again.

We fully understand the impact this transition will have on our students and their families—especially students in our dual language program, students receiving special education services, students who do not speak English at home and families who do not have adequate technology resources. We also recognize the hardship this poses on families who do not have child care options and who need to work.

I cannot stress this enough: Please reach out to our staff if or when you need support. This pandemic has affected all of us for a long time now. It has caused stress, anxiety and fear—not to mention the impact a positive COVID-19 diagnosis has had on some families. With the current trend in infections, it is not likely to end anytime soon. Now, more than ever, we need to be here for each other. We need support, interaction and connection. Our team is available for phone calls and video conferencing. We can provide resources or even just a safe place to share feelings. You are not in this alone.

Student Support Services

Our dedicated team of paraprofessionals, outreach workers, counselors and school social workers are here to support families and students. You can find their contact information on our Student Support Services web page. Our support staff will continue to provide individual, group and family support to students and families.

  • Outreach workers work directly with families and students to provide information regarding various resources available through the schools and the Richfield community. 
  • School social workers provide support and resources to support students and families at home, school, and in the community. 
  • School counselors address the academic, career, personal and social needs of students. They also provide individual and classroom sessions to guide and assist students through a wide variety of personal, social, academic and post-secondary planning needs. They are also involved with 504 case management, referrals to outside agencies and overall coordination of the school counseling program.

Child Care for Tier 1 Employees

Our child care program for Tier 1 Employees (critical workers) is operated during school hours in partnership with Richfield Fun Club and includes District staff who provide academic support while students are in distance learning. Children in grades PK-5 (ages 4-12) of critical workers are eligible for this care, which is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is able to be at home. Learn more and enroll through our website.

Next Steps

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have made decisions based on what is in the best interest of our students, families and staff using the best data available. We will continue to lead and make decisions this way.

We will continue to review COVID-19 case rates every week and watch for a downward trend. The Hennepin County case rate will need to be between 30-50 per 10,000 (and on a downward trend) before we can consider re-opening our elementary schools for hybrid learning and 20-30 per 10,000 before we can welcome back our secondary students. 

You can help to lower the case rate by:

  • Always wearing a mask when you are with friends and/or out in public.
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when washing your hands with soap and water is not an option.
  • Staying home when you are not feeling well. 
  • Limiting group gatherings with people from outside your household.

Over the next week, we will send additional information regarding school meals, special education services and other resources available for families. Some of this information will come from the District and some will come directly from your child’s school. Please ensure your email address is up-to-date in ParentVUE.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Steven Unowsky

 


 

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2020 Application for Educational Benefits

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