Dear TCGIS Community,
The Incidence Response Team met today to determine the learning model for February. Please know that your team deliberated long and hard on the way to this plan, and that balancing the competing demands of in-person instruction, COVID safety, and the well-being of our community made this a very challenging process. We created this plan after carefully reviewing family surveys, staff surveys, and taking into consideration hours of administration and board communication.
As educators and school leaders, we know the importance of school in the lives of our students. It is a place where students learn, build lifelong skills, grow their social-emotional learning and build community. We know our classrooms are essential for our students who are struggling or need gentle guidance. We are a place that improves student mental health and well-being. Schools provide public health interventions including nutrition, social connections, and support for families and our community. Schools are essential for our students.
With the additional mitigation requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health and TCGIS’s commitment to ensuring a safe environment, we believe we can bring students, educators, and staff together safely. We commit to following every mitigation in the Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. In addition to the standard recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health, we commit to purchasing a room HEPA air purification system for every classroom. We will continue to make our first priority a safe environment while prioritizing in-person learning for all our students, especially our youngest learners.
Minnesota Department of Education’s new mitigations include the following (these are in addition to mitigations TCGIS has already implemented and includes mitigations TCGIS implemented before they were even required):
- Implement a rolling start process for students to be brought back to the building.
- Execute a COVID-19 testing program.
- Face coverings must be worn when engaging in indoor physical activity (TCGIS implemented this mitigation in the fall).
- It is strongly recommended that districts and charter schools require staff to wear face masks and face shields together whenever possible during the school day.
- All special lessons must be held in the classroom or outside (weather permitting).
- For early learning and elementary schools only: Student meal times should be held in the classroom
- For in-person only: three feet of physical distancing or more is strongly recommended.
A distance learning option will remain available for families. Wednesdays will remain asynchronous learning/meeting days until the distance option requirement is lifted and normal instruction returns.
Families who are currently enrolled in distance learning will remain in distance learning. Families who opted for hybrid learning will be moved to in person learning on their designated week. Requests to switch will be handled on a case by case basis.
TCGIS’s Phased Transition Plan
TCGIS will begin with a phased transition for our Elementary School starting on February 1st, 2020 with 4 days a week (Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays). New required mitigations measures include a rolling start process for students to return to the building. “For an acceptable rolling start strategy, no more than three additional grades bands can be introduced into the building in a two week time period when implementing an in-person learning model for the entire school building.” State guidance only allows three K – 6 grade levels to return to in-person learning at one time, with a two-week delay in between each group.