Important Grade School Update

December 30, 2020

Dear CLWS Grades Families,

This communication provides you with information regarding our learning model for the next eight weeks, beginning with our return to school on Monday, January 11. It outlines a phased transition to more in-person learning for all of our students.

As outlined before the start of the school year, our learning model plans have been informed by guidance and recommendations from the State of Minnesota, the MN Department of Health, and the MN Department of Education, including Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year and evolving scientific research. Our ability to conduct in-person learning has been a direct result of the success of the many mitigation strategies we put in place including the diligence of school families to closely monitor the health of their households, keep sick children at home, and support good hygiene and mask-wearing. 

Throughout this school year we have tried to remain flexible and adaptable and to focus on the variables within our control. Direct guidance from the Regional Support Team (designed to serve as a partnership between local public health officials, MDE, and MDH to support schools in navigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic) has supported CLWS maintaining some in-person learning for all of our students despite the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Hennepin County that began in November. Though we are relieved to see the steady decline in case numbers in Hennepin County over the last several weeks, we know that numbers could rise again following the winter holidays. 

Prioritizing In-Person Learning for Young Learners

As many of you know, on December 16, the Governor announced statewide plans to prioritize in-person learning for elementary age students. MDE, in cooperation with the MDH, has updated the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21 to reflect this priority. An excerpt from the updated plan is below:

Based on Minnesota’s evolving knowledge and understanding of the virus, the Safe Learning Plan has been updated so that early learning and elementary schools reduce the use of county data as a singular determining point when considering their learning models, and mitigation strategies are increased to help get students back in classrooms while keeping students, families, educators and staff safe. Starting on January 18, 2021, every early learning program and elementary school across the state may choose to operate an in-person or hybrid learning model as long as they are able to implement the additional mitigation strategies listed below including a rolling start process in which students will gradually be brought back in the building.

The CLWS plan brings all grades students back to full-time in-person learning in incremental steps over seven weeks, with priority given to our youngest learners. See the plan below:

Plan for Incremental Return to Full In-Person Learning / January 11 – February 28

Grades 1-2Grades 3-6Grades 7-8
Jan 11-154 day – 1 day DL (F)3 day – 2 day DL (Th-F)1 day in person (W) – 4 day DL (M-T, Th-F)
Jan 18 -22 
(4-day week)
4 day – 1 day DL (F)4 day – 1 day DL (F)1 day –  4 day DL (M-T, Th-F)
Jan 25-295 day in person4 day – 1 day DL (F)3 day in person (M-W) – 2 day DL (Th-F)
Feb 1-55 day in person4 day – 1 day DL (F)3 day – 2 day DL (Th-F)
Feb 8-12
(3-day week)
5 day in person5 day in person4 day – 1 day DL (F)
Feb 15-18
(4-day week) 
5 day in person5 day in person4 day – 1 day DL (F)
Feb 21-245 day in person5 day in person5 day in person
Feb 25-285 day in person5 day in person5 day in person

Monday, January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Holiday/No School
Thursday – Friday, February 11-12: Parent-Teacher Conferences/No School
Monday, February 15: Presidents’ Day Holiday/No School

Health and Safety Measures

The CLWS plan to progressively increase in-person learning is dependent on continued vigilance regarding all of our mitigation efforts, along with the addition of a few new safety measures. To further support in-person learning, Minnesota is rolling out an on site testing program for schools. The COVID-19 saliva tests for school staff are an additional mitigation strategy to limit exposure and prevent the spread of disease. We are currently working with state representatives to provide free on site testing every two weeks for staff working with students beginning in mid-January.

Though we have been fortunate that our collective efforts have prevented the transmission of COVID-19 at CLWS thus far, we must continue to move through this school year together with a steadfast commitment to the practices and protocols that support the ongoing health and safety of our students, staff, and families.

We greatly appreciate all of your support! We hope that you and your child(ren) are enjoying the winter holiday and wish you all the best in the New Year!

In service,

Marti Stewart, Administrative Director
Marcee Hansen, Faculty Chair
Julia Bottkol, RN, School Nurse, COVID-19 Response Coordinator

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