Surging COVID-19 cases have again forced St. Michael-Albertville School District’s leaders to change learning models for students around the community.
As STMA’s students in grades 5 through 12 adapted to full distance learning this week, Superintendent Ann Marie Foucault said changes will be coming on Dec. 10 for all students in grades kindergarten through 4.
Albertville Primary, Fieldstone Elementary and St. Michael Elementary will transition to a hybrid schedule, keeping ALL kids home on Wednesday (this is different from the secondary hybrid model) for distance learning. Students will remain in-person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Students at Big Woods Elementary will transition to Distance Learning, as their grade 5 through 12 counterparts have done. This will run through the Winter Break, which begins on Dec. 23. The administration is hoping that on Jan. 4, 2021, Big Woods students will enter the hybrid model being utilized for other elementary students in the district, attending all weekdays excluding Wednesday – which will be a distance learning day.
All elementary students and secondary students will have NO SCHOOL on Dec. 4, 7, 8 and 9 as the district works with the state and staff to transition to new models. Secondary students were given these dates a couple of weeks ago. These are new adjustments for elementary kids.
Here are the details from Dr. Foucault:
While the District is working tirelessly to keep our students in school, we have to temporarily transition to a more restrictive learning model for grades PK-4. As a parent, staff member, and community member, I know these changes will have a tremendous impact on students, staff, and families.
As you have heard me say many times before, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. Likewise, I wholeheartedly believe our children learn best in a face-to-face, in-person model. But, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our schools and community.
This morning, our STMA team met with representatives from MN Department of Health (MDH), MN Department of Education (MDE), Wright County Public Health, and our Regional Support Team. After a careful review of data and much discussion, it was recommended that we shift learning models for grades PK-4.
Please continue to read below for important information and reminders for students in ALL grades PK-12.
Learning Model Shift for Students in Grades PK-4
Big Woods Elementary Students
Data from last week show a significant increase in positive cases at Big Woods Elementary. Because of this spike and in response to this data, a “pause” is necessary. Students at Big Woods Elementary will transition to a distance learning model on December 10. This model will continue through December 22. To allow time for staff to plan, there will be no school for students on December 7, 8, and 9 (see Modified Academic Calendar). On January 4, Big Woods will join the other elementary buildings in the hybrid learning model. We are hopeful this 12-day pause will provide a safer environment when we return. For more information about the PK-4 hybrid and distance learning models, see page four of the FAQ. In addition, watch for more information from Principal Peterson.
Please remember to report positive COVID-19 for your child by calling the Big Woods attendance line to report a positive test. This data is critical for our consideration in moving back to a less restrictive learning model.
Albertville Primary, Fieldstone Elementary, and St. Michael Elementary Students
Data from last week showed an increase in positive cases in our schools, community, county, and state. These increases necessitate a shift to a hybrid learning model on December 10. To allow time for staff to plan, there will be no school for students on December 7, 8, and 9 (see Modified Academic Calendar). For more information about the PK-4 hybrid learning model, see page four of the FAQ. Please watch for additional information from your child’s principal.
Special Education Services
Students who receive special education services will continue to receive services as outlined in their Contingency Learning Plan (CLP). The CLP is part of your student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The CLP was written this fall with your input and outlines the services that will be provided during each of the different learning models. If you have questions, please contact your child’s case manager.
Bright Beginnings Preschool
The hybrid learning model does not include a schedule change for Bright Beginnings preschool students (see page four of the FAQ). However, we realize that the additional planning days on December 7, 8 and 9 have reduced the number of instructional days during the month of December, far below what was originally scheduled. Therefore, we will only be charging Bright Beginnings families 50% tuition for the month of December. More information about this one-time tuition reduction will be shared with families soon.
Learning Models for Students in Grades 5-12
Distance Learning Model for Students at Middle School East, Middle School West, and the High School
Students in grades 5-12 who attend Middle School East, Middle School West, and the high school will continue in a full distance learning model. Students will not have school (including distance learning) on December 7, 8, and 9 due to staff planning days (see Modified Academic Calendar).
Please remember to report positive COVID-19 for your child by calling your child’s building attendance line to report a positive test. This data is critical for our consideration in moving to a less restrictive learning model.
Knights Academy Students Remain in Hybrid Learning Model
Students who attend Knights Academy will continue in the hybrid learning model. Students at Knights Academy will not have school on December 7 to allow time for staff to plan for trimester two (see Modified Academic Calendar).
Childcare Services for Tier One Critical Workers
When operating in a hybrid or distance learning model, Tier 1 critical workers have the option for free childcare available during school hours for students who are ages 12 and under. Tier 1 childcare is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is at home, as all of the parents or legal guardians are Tier 1 critical workers.
Please see page 17 of the Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year for additional information and Appendix B for specific definitions of Tier 1 critical workers.
For questions or to register contact Lisa Becker at LisaB@mystma.org.
Meals for Enrolled Students
Free meals will be available to enrolled students on all scheduled school days.
Daily Meal Pick Up
Meal pick up is available daily. Families may pick up FREE meals at either of the locations listed below Monday through Friday from 11:00-12:30 p.m. One breakfast and one lunch will be provided per student. There is no need to pre-order meals for daily pick-up.
STMA High School
Meal pick up Door B
5800 Jamison Avenue NE
STMA Middle School East
Meal pick up Main Entrance
4862 Naber Avenue NE
Weekly Meal Pick Up
For those who cannot pick up meals during the day, we are offering a weekly meal pick-up option starting Wednesday, November 25 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. at Middle School West. You must preorder if you are interested in weekly pick-up. Students will receive a weeks’ worth of breakfasts and lunches for all scheduled school days. The meal order form can be found on the Food and Nutrition webpage on the STMA website. Meal orders can be placed from Wednesday morning through Friday noon for the following Wednesday meal pick-up.
If you are currently placing meal orders for your distance learner, you can now pick up meals daily or continue placing weekly meal orders. However, please note the time change listed above.
Middle School West
Meal Pick-Up Door O (back of building)
11343 50th Street NE
Please wear your mask and social distance when you come to pick up meals. Meals are for currently enrolled STMA students only. More information can be found on the Food and Nutrition webpage.
We will continue to provide you with additional information as it becomes available. The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available on the District’s website. The FAQ on the COVID page is updated regularly.
- Contact information for MN officials: Governor Walz, MDE Commissioner Ricker, and MDH Commissioner Malcolm
- STMA Dashboard
- Wright County COVID-19 Dashboard
- Stay Safe Plan
- Make a Plan Minnesota
Returning to In-Person or Hybrid Learning
There is nothing we want more than to have all of our children back on-site and in school full time. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, there is no specific timeline to transition to a less restrictive learning model. We will continue in the learning models mentioned above until further notice and will reevaluate in mid-January.
It will take all of us, working together, to decrease the spread of the virus so we can bring our children back to school. Together, we must implement the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health. We can improve our chances of getting our students back in school by remembering to:
- Wear a face covering when outside your home.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from persons not in your household.
- Protect yourself and others by washing your hands often with soap and water, cover your cough, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, countertops).
- Stay away from large-group events.
- If you are sick, stay home.
Lastly, we know hearing this news is difficult and will be disruptive to all stakeholders. Together, we will get through this as a community rooted in our strong tradition of excellence. Take care and be safe.
Thanks for all the info regarding the changes. I sure would like to know why the high school teachers cannot provide live instruction now that a full distance learning model has been implemented. They had all summer to prepare and they should be able to have regular class schedule using Google Meets, Zoom, etc. The teachers have a tough job but so do the students. I’m confident that most teachers gained many hours of free time with the recent change to a distance learning model. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for them.