Dear River Grove Families and Community,
Tonight, our Board of Directors met to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing impact on River Grove.
Thank you for your recent input to the Board and school administration via our survey and emails. Your feedback has been helpful to our decision making. We fully understand that the pandemic is causing difficult decisions that significantly impact all of our families, staff, and community. We do not take these decisions lightly. We recognize that families need to plan ahead just as much as the school does, and it is our intention to communicate changes as promptly and thoroughly as possible given the changing circumstances.
River Grove continues to carefully weigh the many factors involved. While we all strongly believe that in-person, on-campus instruction is preferable to Distance Learning for many reasons, and that River Grove’s unique setting helps promote some of the safety measures that health experts recommend, we also have the fundamental responsibility to consider the community’s health risks and to mitigate uncertainty and inconsistency in our educational model for our students’ sake.
Our utmost concerns are the operational capability to deliver quality instruction while adhering to safety protocols, and the welfare of our students, teachers and staff, and families. Shortages of substitute teaching and support staff due to quarantines and/or COVID-19 cases are a very difficult problem not only at River Grove, but locally and across Minnesota. This last week, 37% of our Hybrid Learning students were absent due to COVID-related reasons. Public health experts caution that the upcoming holidays present a serious concern for further spread of the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 cases can happen suddenly; if we are not proactive in our planning, the sudden changes can cause a cascade of scheduling, staffing, and programming problems that we are working to avoid.
Tonight, the Board voted to adopt the following calendar and learning model shift. We hope that the actual number of days in full Distance Learning will be short, as outlined here.
- Through November 25: Continue hybrid in-person schedule
- Wednesday, November 25: “C” day (at-home for all students)
- November 26-27: Thanksgiving break
- November 30-December 2: Teacher prep — no school/no Distance Learning
- Please stay tuned for curriculum pickup details
- School-age care will move to River Grove campus starting Monday, November 30. If a parent in your family is a critical worker as defined by Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year (Appendix B: Critical Worker Definitions), please contact the school.
- Thursday, December 3 to Wednesday, January 13: Distance Learning for all students*
- January 14-15: Tentative teacher prep for model shift*
- January 15, 2021, is the end of semester one
- January 18: No school (Martin Luther King Day)/grading day
- January 19: Learning model TBD*
*Please note that conditions may change, affecting this timeline. Families should be prepared for additional changes.
Because River Grove is required to provide Distance Learning for all who opt-in, this model shift will enable us to prepare for families who are interested in changing models for the second semester, including the possibility of staff reassignments and/or additional multi-age classrooms. Please look for additional communications regarding learning model opt-ins.
FREE LUNCHES! We want to remind all families that the USDA continues it’s program to reimburse lunches for all those 18 and under — no need to qualify. This means that student lunches are free to families. Please contact the school if you would like to order lunches during the Distance Learning model.
We sincerely thank you all for your support as we prioritize student and staff safety.
Drew Goodson, School Director: firstname.lastname@example.org