On June 18, the Minnesota Dept. of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Dept. of Education (MDE) outlined three likely scenarios for the 2020-2021 school year and directed all school districts to prepare for all three scenarios.

Leaders in Osseo Area Schools had anticipated this guidance and were already planning for all three possibilities.

Over the summer, a district-level team and three work groups (instructional, operations, and resources) are developing implementation plans for each of the three likely scenarios. A separate work group is charged with gathering input (to the extent possible given the compressed time frame) in the early planning phase and communicating with stakeholders throughout the summer. 

Depending on the spread of the coronavirus, schools might use any or all three scenarios over the course of the year. 

  1. In-person learning for all students
    In this scenario, all students and staff would return to school buildings and would follow state guidance re social distancing, “as is feasible” during the day. A distance learning option would be provided to families who prefer that their children not return to school buildings.
  2. Hybrid learning with strict social distancing and capacity limits
    Hybrid learning means students would be in buildings some days and participate in distance learning on other days. Schools would be expected to implement social distancing at all times, and the overall number of people in facilities (including buses) would be limited to no more than 50% capacity.
  3. Distance learning only (an evolved version of Spring 2020)
    This scenario may be implemented if the incidence of coronavirus infections worsens enough to require the suspension of any in-person learning.

#279ReadytoRestart: Help us plan for the new school year

 

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What should the school district think about as we plan for the new school year?

As we plan for Fall 2020, we're using a new tool called Thoughtexchange to gather your input about important planning considerations; please note that this is in addition to a separate survey you may have received last week. All students, staff, parents/caregivers and interested community members are invited to participate through Friday, July 10.

 

What is Thoughtexchange?

Thoughtexchange is an online idea crowdsourcing tool (available in multiple languages) that gathers input from stakeholders and identifies the ideas with the strongest sense of common ground.

 

How does it work?

  • Share – Answer an open-ended question about planning for the new school year.
  • Star – Consider other points of view and rate them according to your level of agreement. Rate as many ideas as you like.
  • Discover – Learn what is important to the group.

 

All thoughts and ratings are anonymous.

 

How will the information be shared?

Results will be shared with district planners. The results will also be posted to the district website, www.district279.org by no later than July 17.

Important note: This stakeholder input tool is different from and does not replace any survey you may be asked to complete. Unlike a survey, Thoughtexchange engages participants in evaluating ideas from other people throughout the school district; it will provide insights that will complement but not replace the results of planning surveys.

share your thoughts button


 Update from Supt. Cory McIntyre, June 19, 2020

Dear parents/guardians:

I’m writing to update you on our planning for the new school year and to request your participation in some upcoming opportunities to share your thoughts about resuming school.

Planning for three likely scenarios
Yesterday, the Minnesota Dept. of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Dept. of Education (MDE) outlined three likely scenarios for the new school year and directed all school districts to prepare for all three scenarios.

Fortunately, we anticipated this guidance and had already started planning for all three possibilities.

At this time, we have more questions than answers, but I can tell you that a district-level planning team and four work groups (teaching and learning, operations, resources, and communication/stakeholder engagement) are already planning and will continue to do so throughout the summer.

Briefly, here are the three scenarios. Our understanding is that depending on the spread of the coronavirus, schools might use any or all three scenarios over the course of the year. 

  1. In-person learning for all students
    In this scenario, all students and staff would return to school buildings and would follow state guidance re social distancing, “as is feasible” during the day. A distance learning option would be provided to families who prefer that their children not return to school buildings.
  2. Hybrid learning with strict social distancing and capacity limits
    Hybrid learning means students would be in buildings some days and participate in distance learning on other days. Schools would be expected to implement social distancing at all times, and the overall number of people in facilities (including buses) would be limited to no more than 50% capacity.
  3. Distance learning only (an evolved version of Spring 2020)
    This scenario may be implemented if the incidence of coronavirus infections worsens enough to require the suspension of any in-person learning.

By sharing your thoughts about resuming school, you can help us plan more effectively
Over the coming weeks, you’ll receive invitations to provide your perspectives in two ways:

  1. A family survey sent to all parents/guardians by email. I’ll call to alert you to the survey when it becomes available.
  2. An online idea crowdsourcing tool (available in multiple languages) called “ThoughtExchange” that will ask you to respond anonymously to a broad open-ended question regarding planning for the new school year. You’ll be able to see other respondents’ ideas and rate them, and others will be able to rate your ideas. The tool will allow the ideas with the highest ratings to surface, along with why those ideas are considered important. I’ll let you know when this is available, too.

What we know at this time

  • We know you are wondering what the new school year will look like (which scenario will be implemented) and what steps we’ll take to promote safe work and learning environments.
  • We know MDE will provide further direction in late July regarding which scenario will be permitted in the new school year (at least to start the year; it’s also possible that as the virus shifts, our own plans will have to pivot accordingly).
  • We know we have a great deal of work to do in a short amount of time, and that families and staff will want regular updates.

My promise to you
I promise that we will send updates (either from your principal or from me) throughout the summer to inform you about plans as they progress. 

I also promise that the overall planning team and the four work groups will carefully consider the feedback we receive through the survey and the input we gather through the online idea generation tool and other input opportunities.


 Update from Supt. Cory McIntyre, June 8, 2020

Dear parents/guardians:
 
We just completed the most unusual school year most of us have experienced in our lives. The combined stresses of a pandemic that threatened our public health along with the related stay-at-home order, which required a shift to distance learning for all students (birth to adults), brought challenges none of us could have anticipated even six months ago. More recently, the senseless death of Mr. George Floyd changed Minnesota forever and activated new champions for justice here at home and around the globe.
 
A school year we’ll never forget
As I write this message, I’m reflecting on the full range of experiences over the past few months.

  • As a parent of school-age children myself, I can relate to the stresses many of you felt when the role of homeschool teacher was suddenly thrust on you. It was difficult; yet, you rose to the challenge and I heard many stories about distance learning successes. You offered our teachers (who pivoted within a matter of days to a remote learning format) tremendous kindness and encouragement. They missed your children so much; I hope you felt their love coming through the mobile device screen!
  • We know distance learning worked well for some students but not for all. The feedback you provided on the distance learning surveys helped us adjust mid-stream this spring and will help us improve, should we need distance learning again in the near or distant future.
  • I felt the sadness of graduating seniors and their families, who missed out on the traditional culminating activities, including prom and in-person commencement ceremonies. In contrast, when I visited each high school’s drive-through graduation celebrations last Saturday, I saw nothing but joy, pride, and love among students, families and the staff who serve them. I couldn’t be more proud of the Class of 2020. Through difficult times, they showed remarkable resilience and persistence, two traits that will serve them well the rest of their lives.

 
What’s next: planning for 2020-2021
Having completed a most challenging 2019-2020 school year, we are now fully immersed in planning for 2020-2021. While everything remains subject to the whims of the coronavirus, we are doing our best to plan for any scenario that might be allowed by state officials. I want you to know that a team of district and school staff will be working all summer to prepare for the return of students next fall under any of three main scenarios:

  1. Remote/distance learning (an evolved version of spring 2020)
  2. Modified on-site learning (in school buildings, but under conditions that comply with state and federal guidance to reduce the spread of the coronavirus)
  3. Hybrid of both on-site and distance learning (mix of days in school buildings and days learning at home)

 
We anticipate that by the end of July, we’ll have guidance from the state about what will be allowed, and we intend to be ready for whatever is permitted.
 
Later this month, please watch for a survey that will help us understand how you’re feeling about your child returning to school in the fall. Your perspectives will help us plan as effectively as possible.
 
Stay in touch over the summer

 
Thank you
It continues to be my honor to serve as your superintendent. It’s been an amazing year for lots of reasons, including having the opportunity to meet your children and to see the outstanding work our employees, in every position, do to help every child achieve their dreams.
 
I hope this summer brings your family both rest and relaxation. Thank you for your valuable partnership.