Revised Policies and Procedures for 2020-21


River Grove’s Current Status and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic • Updated 10/9/20

Dear River Grove Families, Staff, and Community

Thank you for your patience and understanding of all of the adjustments necessitated by new information and frequently changing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, the teaching team, front office staff, and board members work hard to make well-considered decisions rooted in our families’ best interests of both health and education. We understand the difficulty that the pandemic and its required school responses are placing on families.

Please also be aware that our decisions and the information presented here are subject to change, and it is possible we will have to shift during the school year including changing learning models at various times in the year as COVID rates fluctuate.

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
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 using a model that requires on campus attendance (fully in-person or hybrid) each family can 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 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.

River Grove staff are carefully developing safety and hygiene protocols that fit our unique campus. All of our revised procedures and policies will be discussed at student Welcome Conferences and during online orientation. Following the protocols and policies will be emphasized regularly and will allow us to have kids on campus for longer. Some of our plans include (but not limited to):

Symptom screening: We will ask parents to conduct a COVID-19 screening of their children at home before coming to school (or getting on the bus); as a safety measure, staff will also screen students for any symptoms upon arrival using an infrared thermometer.

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.

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

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 2020-21

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.


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