COVID-19 Planning Update 8/22/20

Important Survey Due Tuesday 8/25

Dear River Grove Families

Click HereWe can’t say it enough: Thank you for your patience and assistance as we continue to put together the many details on our fall 2020-21 reopening plans. We know this is a challenging time for you all as well; your flexibility is noticed and appreciated! In our survey you will find questions about:

  • Transportation: Now that we have our Hybrid Model groupings, we can rework our transportation routes. In the first survey a couple of weeks ago, we asked for an idea of who might be able to provide parent transportation to help with our planning. Now, we need parent transportation confirmation for those to can provide it, and/or any changes to your situation that may have occurred as a result of the Hybrid Model groupings, or information from our new families. 
  • Childcare Needs
  • Hand Sanitizer Sensitivity
  • Education Benefits Applications and Meal Needs

We apologize for the tight survey deadline!

Hybrid and Distance Learning Model Fundamentals

Hybrid Learning Model

River Grove’s Hybrid Model of instruction will be delivered using many principles of the  “Inverted Classroom” and “Blended Learning” approaches. Students participating in the Hybrid Model will be given daily lessons crafted by their assigned teacher that can be accessed on-campus or at-home. Using a Blended Learning approach in combination with the enrichment of interacting with an amazing natural campus environment, we feel we can create unique and rigorous learning opportunities for all students. Students are expected to complete a “full day” of instruction whether working at-home or on-campus.

Some key principles of this model include:

  • Reduction of students on campus to 50% occupancy load capacity or less
  • Rigorous daily lessons designed to meet the needs of every student
  • Daily interactions opportunities for all learners with their assigned teacher and class
  • Standardized platforms to access learning from home
    • K-2 Seesaw
    • 3-6 Google Classroom
  • Lessons designed to address Minnesota State Standards but also honor mission/vision of River Grove
  • Monthly progress conferences for all students
  • The use of “Outdoor Classroom” spaces, whether on-campus or at-home 

Students in the model will be divided into two groups, A group and B group, as follows:Hybrid Schedule

What does a typical Hybrid day look like?


  • ALL students will  have access to agenda-setting morning meetings (digitally or in-person)
  • On-campus lessons will primarily be delivered using Outdoor Classrooms (weather permitting)
  • Lessons will be crafted with similar themes/standards both for work on campus and at home
  • At-home students will be given access to instructional videos to help guide learning
  • Teachers will have check-ins and Q and A periods with at-home students/families throughout the day


  • All students will receive Distance Learning
  • Focus will be on review/revision/re-teaching
  • Teacher-led re-teaching groups will be created
  • Individual “office hours” conferences with students and parents will be scheduled
  • Celebration/recognition of efforts
  • Collaborative social activities will be promoted

Full-Time Distance Learning Model

River Grove will also be implementing a Full-time Distance Learning option for our families. In this model, students will not be required to be in-person at River Grove but will be given daily lessons to be accessed from home. Students selecting this model will be provided with a designated dedicated Distance Learning Teacher who will craft remote instruction addressing MN State Learning Standards that are authentic to the unique learning environment of River Grove. Daily delivery of lessons will include live teaching sessions with the dedicated teacher and groupings as well as project and collaborative opportunities.

For the 2020-21 school year the following teachers have been designated for assignment as dedicated distance learning teachers. 

  • Kindergarten to Second Grade: Erin Diedrich (
  • Third to Fifth Grade: Annie Beck (
  • 6th Grade will be taught by Jody Dick ( in coordination with her in-person teaching duties

Screen Time: Given the nature of at-home/distance learning, the use of computers/technology will be necessary to help guide students virtually and provide instructional resources. It is the goal of River Grove staff to continuously assess the amount of time necessary on a screen and continue to seek ways to reduce it when possible. 

Support: River Grove recognizes that full-time Distance Learning is still very new to many families. Distance learning teachers will be available on a daily basis to troubleshoot issues at home. Frequent conferences will take places to assess learning and progress. 

Learning Model Selection and Changes:** When using a model that requires on-campus attendance (in-person or hybrid), each family is able to select that learning model or full-time distance learning. Changing of models from on-campus to distance will be allowed upon written request to the school but may incur a waiting period determined by the school and distance learning teacher. Changes from full-time Distance to on-campus models can occur three times throughout the year:

October 19, 2020 (written request due October 2)
January 19, 2020
April 5, 2021

**These are general guidelines to model selection changes and subject to change. Please contact Drew Goodson, School Director, if you have a special circumstance you would like considered.

Daily Attendance: All students enrolled at River Grove are expected to attend and participate daily. More information about each class’ attendance procedure will be shared by each individual teacher. Attendance, whether in-person, hybrid, or distance is required by all students and is subject to our local attendance policy and MN state statutes. As a reminder, any absences in excess of 10 consecutive days that are not a result of an illness may result in your child being withdrawn from the school and your child’s spot given to the next family on the waiting list. A student absent not as a result of an illness for 15 consecutive days must be dropped from the school and must formally re-enroll to be admitted to the school. 

For issues with daily attendance, either for a school or distance day please contact the front office:

Participation/Completion: Students are expected to participate and complete learning activities on a daily basis whether in-person or at-home. Each week is considered a “full academic” day and should be treated as such. Teachers will be consistently monitoring student progress and checking in with families on a frequent basis. 

General Information Schedule

Here’s what you can expect in the next few days and weeks. Please continue to check emails for important announcements as timelines and deadlines may be tight. Please see a calendar view here that includes the first few weeks of school.

  • Hybrid and Distance Learning Model Fundamentals: Please look for some additional details on or before Saturday, August 22.
  • Distance Learning Opt-in Deadline: Friday, August 28. Email to confirm or opt-into “DL.”
  • COVID-19 Handbook and FAQs: The handbook will go before the Board of Directors on Tuesday, August 25 for approval, and it will be shared with families on Wednesday, August 26.
    • The COVID-19 exposure “Decision tree” and procedures will be included in the handbook.
  • Transportation and Childcare Survey: Now that we have our Hybrid Model groupings, we can rework our transportation routes. In the survey a couple of weeks ago, we asked for an idea of who might be able to provide parent transportation to help with our planning. Now, we need parent transportation confirmation. Please look for a survey to go out on or before Saturday, August 22 with a due date of Tuesday, August 25. Bus routes will be finalized on or before Tuesday, September 2 and available at the Welcome Conferences (also emailed during the week of September 1).
  • Additional Medical Information Needs: A few additional questions required by the Minnesota Department of Education and Health will be added to the survey mentioned above.
  • Arrival and Dismissal Procedure Changes and Possible Staggered Times: Please note that there may be changes to parent drop off and pick up. Please look for information on or before Friday, August 28. Recorded simulated “walk-throughs” will be on our YouTube Channel during the week of August 31.
  • Classroom Information: Please look for emails from your teachers this week. 
  • Supply Lists: These are being sent out this week either by your teacher directly or posted on our website. A notice will be emailed on Saturday, August 22.
  • Childcare: Per the governor’s executive order, Minnesota schools must provide care for children of “essential workers” at no cost during the school day at times when the district is operating in a Hybrid or Distance learning model. Essential workers will be asked to provide verification of employment. No verification is required if you already have a letter on file with us from spring 2020, or if you are an employee of River Grove. Please look for more detailed information on or before Friday, August 28.
  • Required Online Orientations: These will be during the week of August 31. The first orientation will be live via Zoom; a recorded version will be available thereafter on our YouTube channel.
    • We will go over new policies and revised safety procedures related to COVID-19.
    • An online signed acknowledgement will be required afterwards, which will include privacy waivers associated with online learning.
  • Welcome Conferences for All Students: Invitations to Welcome Conferences will go out on or before Sunday, August 23. 
    • This will be a time for each student to meet his/her teacher, for the teachers to conduct a quick assessment, to get a list of forms that need to be completed, to pick up transportation information, verify emergency contact information, to drop off supplies, to pick up masks and other materials, etc. 
    • Students new to River Grove can become familiar with the campus, and all students can see their new classrooms. 
    • Families who are opting-in for Distance Learning are welcome to participate in these conferences.
    • Schedule:
      • Conferences for 1st through 6th and Distance Learning kindergartners will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, September 1-3.
      • Conferences for kindergarten students who are Hybrid Learners will be Tuesday or Wednesday, September 8-9. 


Dedicated Distance Learning Teachers and Flexible Grouping (Update)

Many of our parents expressed concerns about the work loads for our teachers during both Hybrid and Distance Learning (thank you!). The teachers and staff at River Grove want to deliver the best quality instruction to our students no matter how it is delivered, on-campus or 100% on-line. Our teachers want to be able to personally connect and fully support their students no matter where they are. With those reasons in mind, we have developed some flexible teacher-student groupings:

  • Erin Diedrich will be the dedicated on-line teacher for all fully Distance Learning K-2 students.
  • Emily Geffert’s on-campus hybrid groupings will comprise two grades: Group A (M, W) will be all 2nd graders; Group B (T, Th) will be all 1st graders.
  • Annie Beck will be the dedicated on-line teacher for all fully Distance Learning 3-5 students.
  • Jody Dick will teach all 6th graders regardless of the delivery model.

Please see  the staff info page on our website for more information about our teaching staff.

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