Revised Policies and Procedures for 2020-21


River Grove’s Current Status and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic • Updated 12/2/20

Dear River Grove Families, Staff, and Community

On Thursday, December 3, classes will resume in a full Distance Learning (“DL”) format. We’d like to let you know what to expect from our revised DL program. 

We’ve had the experiences of conducting full DL in the spring, every other day with Hybrid Learning, and three of our classroom teachers instructing full DL students so far this school year. In addition, the feedback we got from families told us what went well in the spring, what needs to be tweaked, and what needs to be changed completely.

Full Distance Learning:
  • Begins Thursday, December 3 and Friday, December 4
  • Continues at least through January 13 (model after semester break is TBD)

Starting Thursday, you can expect your student to participate in the equivalent of a full and balanced school day. Students will receive a mixture of direct instruction online with brain breaks and flexible daily learning activities, many not directly online such as science experiments, art projects, reading, and math puzzles and games. Teachers will also provide enrichment and support such as one-on-one meetings and optional extension activities or project ideas. Efforts will be made to limit overall screen time and to get students moving and active, and to incorporate daily life tasks into the curriculum (such as cooking). Our goal is to continue learning at the similar pace as the first part of the year in order to minimize “learning loss” and continue your child’s growth and development.

Below is information regarding changes in policies or procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click on an arrow to show/hide a section.


2020-21 COVID-19 Response Family Handbook

Please consult the 2020-21 COVID-19 Response Family Handbook for up-to-date information on our learning models, health and safety procedures, the “Decision Tree for Potential Cases of COVID-19,” our quarantine protocol, and other modifications we’ve made.

Required Online Orientation for Parents

If you were not able to attend a live version of the Orientation, please watch the recorded version on our YouTube channel.

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/hDHa03Giy_I The video is approximately 90 minutes long.

Please read and sign this acknowledgment document: https://form.jotform.com/202427149462151

Welcome Conferences / First Week of School

To start the year, we will be holding Welcome Conferences for each student. This will be an opportunity for you to meet your teachers in a small group setting (one family at a time), drop off school supplies, pick up a mask or two and a parent transportation “car card,” confirm your transportation and emergency contact information, get acquainted with the campus and our revised arrival and dismissal procedures, and for the teachers to get to know the kids. Because all students, new and returning, have not been in a school setting for some time, this is an especially important back-to-school transition for all families and students (including Distance Learning students).

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, September 1-3:
Welcome Conferences for 1st through 6th and Distance Learning kindergartners

Tuesday, September 8:
First day of school (for grades 1-6)
Hybrid Group A at home
Hybrid Group B on campus
Distance Learners at home (every day)

Tuesday and Wednesday, September 8 and 9:
Kindergarten Welcome Conferences

Wednesday, September 9:
Grades 1-6 Hybrid Group A on campus
Hybrid Group B at home
Distance Learners at home (every day)

Thursday, September 10:
First full day of kindergarten Hybrid Group A at home
Hybrid Group B on campus
Distance Learners at home (every day)

Friday, September 11: Distance Learning for all students

Revised School Hours and Revised 2020-21 Calendar

Revised School Hours: 8:30am – 3:00pm

Revised Calendar:
* Please click here to go to our Calendar page

School Year to Start with “Hybrid Learning” Model

River Grove will start the school year with the Hybrid Model.  The school will operate at a maximum of 50% capacity both in schools and on buses. All students will be divided into two groups, A group and B group, as follows:

Monday: Group A on campus; Group B at home
Tuesday: Group B on campus; Group A at home
Wednesday: Group A on campus; Group B at home
Thursday: Group B on campus; Group A at home
Friday: All Students at Home

The reasons for this decision are many and include considering students’ educational needs and schedules of families who have students in our resident district. River Grove had an individual consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health, who confirmed that the school’s plan for daily morning cleaning of each classroom is sufficient disinfecting in between A and B days, and that there was likely not a significant advantage to having a Wednesday being the “C” day for cleaning.

Please refer to the 2020-21 COVID-19 Response Family Handbook for additional information on the Hybrid Model.

Initial Distance Learning Opt-In Deadline: Friday, August 28

As stated previously, all families are allowed to select full-time Distance Learning as their model. A medical reason is not required.

The full-time Distance Learning can be a viable option to match many of our families’ comfort levels while still keeping them a part of our River Grove community. The previous survey offered families a chance to select Distance Learning; we will contact you to confirm your choice. If you didn’t select Distance Learning previously, and would like to opt into Distance Learning, please let us know no later than Friday, August 28. If we do not hear a specific written request for your family to opt into Distance Learning, we will assume your family will be in the Hybrid Model.

Switching Models

Learning Model Selection: When the school is using a model that provides at least some on-campus attendance (fully in-person or hybrid), each family can select that learning model or full-time Distance Learning.

When the school is in full Distance Learning for all students, switching models is not possible.

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 is subject to availability and capacity and can occur three times throughout the year through written request to Drew Goodson, School Director (dgoodson@marineareaschool.org):

* October 19, 2020 (contact the School Director by Friday October 2)
* January 19, 2021
* April 5, 2021

These are general guidelines and subject to change. Please contact Drew Goodson, School Director (dgoodson@marineareaschool.org) if you have a special circumstance you would like considered.

Safety Protocols

Please refer to the 2020-21 COVID-19 Response Family Handbook for additional information.

Symptom screening: Starting February 8, 2021, we will ask parents to conduct a COVID-19 screening of their children at home before coming to school (or getting on the bus). Please see the Health Screening section for more information.

Extensive cleaning: Additional procedures are being developed, including daily disinfecting in the mornings before school starts for every classroom.

Hygiene: Hand-sanitizing stations are being added in each building. All students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water.

Masks: Governor Walz has directed that masks or face coverings must be worn throughout Minnesota in all indoor public spaces, including buses and school buildings. This will apply to all visitors, staff, and students (kindergarten and older). Students should practice wearing masks now! Students should wear masks during the morning symptom screenings and on the pathways when going to and from classrooms and buses/parents’ cars.
* River Grove will supply at least one free mask per student (available at our student Welcome Conferences).
* Masks will be provided for students and visitors who forget theirs at home.
* In outdoor classrooms, masks may or may not be required depending on the situation/activity. This decision will be at the discretion of teachers who will follow state safety requirements. In general, MDH guidance allows for masks to be removed outdoors when social distancing can be maintained or when participating in a physical activity.

COVID-19 exposure: Please refer to the 2020-21 COVID-19 Response Family Handbook for additional information.

Supplies: We will restrict the sharing of supplies between students.

Revised procedures: Changes are being developed for arrivals and dismissals, lunch, recess, and office operations that involve families. Important note: Students MAY walk by themselves to their classrooms in the mornings. Staff will be positioned on the pathways to help guide kids.

Emergency contact information: Families will be asked to review and update emergency contacts.

Field trips and extracurricular activities: Social distancing and limiting the amount of time for student contact will help limit the spread of the virus. For the time being, we will not have in-person assemblies or field trips, etc.

Ventilation: We are working with our landlord to inspect, test, and ensure that the ventilation systems are functioning at maximum levels. Windows and screen are being assessed to ensure they are in working order.

Buses: All buses will be disinfected following state guidelines. We will follow social distancing guidelines on buses, and students will have assigned seats. We will encourage parents to provide their own transportation when possible.

Visitors and volunteers: We will limit non-essential visitors, volunteers, and external groups/organizations on campus.

Lunches: Students will eat lunches within their own classrooms or outdoor classrooms. See below for more information.

At-Home Health Screening; When Should Students Stay Home?

HEALTH SCREENING — NOW AT HOME STARTING 2/8/21

Parents/guardians are now required to conduct daily morning screenings at home. Health screenings for each child will no longer be conducted at school unless the student exhibits symptoms.

Does your child have AT LEAST ONE of these symptoms?
☐ Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
☐ Difficulty/hard time breathing
☐ New cough or a cough that gets worse
☐ New loss of taste or smell
If Yes to Question 1, Siblings Stay Home Too:
·      If a child has one or more of these symptoms, they must stay home and should stay away from others, including family members, as much as possible.
·      Other children (including siblings) living in the house need to stay home from school or childcare, too.

Does your child have AT LEAST TWO of these symptoms?
☐ Sore throat
☐ Nausea
☐ Vomiting
☐ Diarrhea
☐ Chills
☐ Muscle pain
☐ Excessive fatigue/feels very tired
☐ New severe/very bad headache
☐ New nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose
If Yes to Question 2, Siblings Stay Home Too:
·      If a child has at least two of these symptoms, they must stay home and should stay away from others, including family members, as much as possible.
·       Other children (including siblings) living in the house need to stay home from school or child care, too.

Illness Policy/Possible COVID-19 Case Protocol

Please STAY HOME IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL. We are trying very hard to stay healthy this year and to keep illness out of our school. 

When will you be asked to stay home and be isolated?
If you have ONE of the following symptoms: new cough, fever over 100.4, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell. 
— OR —
If you have TWO of the following symptoms: sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, severe headache, nasal congestion or runny nose. 

Who needs to stay home?
The student with symptoms will be asked to isolate for 10 days. Siblings/parents are asked to isolate for 14 days, separate from the person with symptoms.

Is it possible to return to school before the isolation period is over? 
The student with symptoms would need to get a negative test for COVID or an alternative diagnosis. With proper documentation regarding the symptomatic student (negative test result or physician note with diagnosis), a sibling would be allowed to return to on-campus learning. The symptomatic student would be able to return with the proper documentation and 24 hours of symptom improvement.

How do I let the school know of my child’s COVID test results or alternative diagnosis?
If you want your child to return to school the next day, email Megan Lapos, Licensed School Nurse, at attendance@marineareaschool.org before 4:00pm. If you get your results or diagnosis after 4:00pm, accompany your child to school in the morning and wait outside of the Earth building with your documentation. Your student will be evaluated and a determination made whether the student is able to return.

Where do I find out more information on the policy that River Grove is following?
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf 

Childcare for Essential Workers

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 contact the front office if you require childcare.

Lunches During In-Person Models

To start the school year off, the lunch program will look a bit different. There will be a limited menu with four days of different lunches offered. Please see the website menu and continue to sign up for lunches two weeks at a time.

The lunches will be prepared, packaged individually, and delivered to each classroom. Coolers have been purchased to ensure the lunches are kept properly while in route to their class. A class checklist will also be used to make sure each student that needs a lunch will be provided one. Unfortunately, at this time there will be no option for seconds.

Parent Transportation and Arrival/Dismissal Procedures for Hybrid Model

In order to reduce the number of kids on the buses for the Hybrid Learning Model, we are asking all parents who are able to provide transportation. 

Due to our large campus, and to keep students safe and traffic moving efficiently, our arrival and dismissal procedures are carefully planned. This year — because we need to reduce the number of students on the buses — we need to be even more careful with more parent traffic.

Please read Arrival and Dismissal Procedures for 2020-21.

Weekly Schedule During Full Distance Learning

MONDAYS TO THURSDAYS
Daily live online morning meetings (required for attendance)
Teachers will take attendance at these meetings, so it is very important that students attend morning meetings. Students must check in on a Zoom meeting everyday; submitting Seesaw assignments will not count as being present. Your child’s teacher will provide specific instructions and Zoom links.

* Tardy (Unexcused/Excused):
Students will be tardy unexcused if a morning meeting is missed without prior notice to the teacher.
* Absent (Unexcused/Excused):
Students will be absent unexcused if a core subject lesson on Zoom is missed without prior notice.
 
Morning Meeting Times:
8:30 Beck, Johnson
8:40 Diedrich
9:00 McBride (Mr Eric), Dick, Geffert, Clepper, Henschen, Fuerst
9:30 McDonald, Hansen
 
* Each teacher will provide daily student-teacher interfaces in the core subjects math, language arts, social studies, and science. These may be for the full class, small groups, or individualized as needed.
* Supplemental activities will include PE, art, and music.
* Teachers will provide individualized additional support such as “study hall” or office hours and enrichment activities for those looking for help or extra work.
* Special education services will be integrated throughout the school day.
 
FRIDAYS
* Fridays will primarily be for review, reteaching, and catching up as needed.
* Teachers will hold online morning check-ins instead of a more formal morning meeting (at the same time as morning meeting). Attendance will be taken at check-in.

Tardy/Absent Policies During Distance Learning

Please email attendance@marineareaschool.org in advance if your student will be late or absent during any part of Distance Learning.

Tardy (Unexcused/Excused):
* Students will be tardy unexcused if a morning meeting is missed without prior notice to the teacher or attendance email.

Absent (Unexcused/Excused):
* Students will be absent unexcused if a core subject lesson on Zoom is missed without prior notice to the teacher or attendance email.

Curriculum Pick-Ups Dates/Times for Initial Move to Distance Learning (December 2020)

Curriculum packets will be placed outside your child’s classroom (not in the Commons). Please note that it is possible that the teachers will be with students during those times. Please park in the Guest (Parent) Lot. Check with your teacher for alterations to this schedule:

For classes now moving to from Hybrid to Distance Learning:
Monday, December 7: 2:00-5:00pm
Tuesday, December 8: 9:00am-12:00pm

For current Distance Learning classes (Beck and Diedrich):
Friday, December 11 (your teachers will give you specific details).

Additional curriculum pick-ups will be scheduled as needed.

Digital Citizenship/Expected Behavior for Online School

Online classes are an extension of in-person classes at River Grove, and appropriate behavior is expected. 

* When students participate in video conferences with their video ON, other participants can see them and their surroundings. During audio calls, other participants can hear the students (unless the microphone is muted).
* Video lessons may be recorded and posted for students to use for review at a later time.
* The Student Code of Conduct and School Discipline Policy are in effect during video and audio conferences and apply to all school-related materials, content including online classrooms, and devices. 
* Screen time with pets and siblings will be reserved for designated social times. Please consult with your teacher.
* Please support your student by creating a dedicated/quiet “learning space” in your home.

How to Get Help During Distance Learning

Teachers will provide individualized additional supports such as “study hall” or office hours. Please contact them for more information. Teacher and administration emails can be found here on our website.

COVID Tracking Continues During Distance Learning

Please continue to report your child’s COVID-19 illness and quarantines to the school’s health office throughout Distance Learning. Tracking this information is vital to our planning for a shift back to in-person learning.

Megan Lapos, Licensed School Nurse, can answer your healthcare questions and help find testing locations. Email her at: mlapos@marineareaschool.org 

Students attending critical worker childcare at River Grove and all staff should also continue to report COVID symptoms.

Technology Needs for Online Learning

The use of technology will be a key component in the delivery of lessons during Distance Learning. If your household is in need of technology resources such as Chromebooks or hotspots during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to the front office or your child’s teacher.

Front Office Hours/Contact Info During Distance Learning

The front office will be generally open from 8:30 to 3:00 during Distance Learning. Office staff will be available via appointment to assist with in-person business as well as remotely via email and phone if necessary. Please use the following contact information if you have questions:

* Main Phone: 651-409-3122
* Attendance: attendance@marineareaschool.org
* Drew Goodson, School Director: dgoodson@marineareaschool.org  
* Ele Anderson, Operations Coordinator: eanderson@marineareaschool.org 
* Megan Lapos, School Nurse: mlapos@marineareaschool.org


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