January 11th Update

Dear Families,

We are excited to welcome students back to school and look forward to some sense of normalcy in the future. I have received a few questions about why all our kids cannot return on January 19 or even sooner. The governor's most recent order directs us to maintain our deadline to sunset distance learning. That deadline was set as January 18. From that date is where we begin our "rolling start" process. This means, no more than three grade levels at a time can return to in-person instruction in two-week increments. Furthermore, his executive order prioritizes the youngest students in school districts as the place to start when we bring back students into the building. Thus, our schedule calls for lower elementary and middle schools to begin first. The rolling start schedule is listed below as a reminder.

Elementary:
January 19 - 29 = grades PK-2
February 1-11 = grades Pk-5

High School: (The high school schedule will be four in-person days per week in the beginning, with Wednesday being distance learning)
January 19 - 29 = grades 6-8
February 1 - 11 = grades 6-11
February 16 = grades 6-12

Planning Days - As part of the governor's order teachers are to be given two planning days to prepare for students to return to in person learning. Below is how this applies to students....

    Elementary Students - In making this transition back to in person learning the PreK-2 & gr 6 staff have two planning days, January 14 & 15. Students in these grades will not have new classwork assigned on these days. Students are encouraged to finish up any late work. Students in grades 3-5 will not have any new classwork assigned on January 28 & 29 for the teachers to prepare for in person learning.

    High School Students - Will not have school on January 14th or 15th for students in grades 7-12. These days will be used by teachers to prepare for students to return to school. Students are strongly encouraged to finish up any late work during these days.

Childcare - Our childcare program for essential workers will continue until all elementary aged (Prek-5) students return to school on February 1st. At that time childcare will no longer be offered.

Snow Days - While distance learning certainly has its challenges, as we look to the future, we believe distance learning will allow us to avoid having to make up school days that are lost due to weather-related closings. To that end, we have decided as a school district that if we need to close the school we will shift to operating school in distance learning by posting/sending lessons to students. Elementary (PreK-6) teachers are working to prepare their contingency plans and have begun to post these plans on the elementary portion of the district website. High School (7-12) students should be prepared to access Schoology, as they have during distance learning, to access their lessons for the day.

I recently heard someone say that students across the country have a great deal of "unfinished learning." We are very excited to have our students back in the building to help them finish their learning and move ahead. Thank you for the trust and support our community has shown our school district through these difficult times.

Take care,

ANDREW M. ALMOS
Superintendent, East Central Public Schools
phone 320-245-6001 | twitter @almosandrew
aalmos@eastcentral.k12.mn.us | www.eastcentral.k12.mn.us
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