2020-21 School Year Planning
Frequently Asked Questions

Updated information appears in red below (08/26/2020)

What are the district’s goals for the 2020-2021 school year?
  • Keep students and staff physically safe.
  • Care for the social-emotional needs of students and staff.
  • Keep learning the priority to create a strong learning environment no matter the delivery model.
  • Reduce inequities by meeting the learning needs of students.
  • Engage in complex work that will require the collective efforts of many.
How will decisions be made about which scenario our school is in?
Communities across Minnesota are experiencing the impact of COVID-19 in different ways. While some areas of the state have seen significant outbreaks, other communities have experienced steady or relatively low numbers of new cases. While there are many factors to take into consideration when determining an appropriate learning model for school opening, the decision-making process should first center on local data indicating the level of viral activity in the surrounding community. Our district will use the following process in assessing and determining an appropriate learning model for school opening:

Will all school districts in MN be using the same model at the same time?
No.  Each district will be able to make decisions based on the circumstances in their local community.  For example, Spring Grove could be in the Hybrid Model, which a neighboring community experiencing an outbreak is in Distance Learning, or viceversa.

What will IN PERSON LEARNING look like?
In person learning will be all K - 12 students in the building every day.  We will maximize space between students and others.  Students will be placed at the beginning of the year in cohorts of approximately 16 students or less.  This way if we need to switch to the HYBRID LEARNING model students will stay in the same cohorts.

Students will have the option to attend the SG Virtual Academy if they are unable to attend school in the building.

What will HYBRID LEARNING look like?
Through careful design, there will be few changes at our school between IN PERSON LEARNING and HYBRID LEARNING.  If the district needs to move to a HYBRID LEARNING scenario, all K - 12 students may still be in the building, however, the difference is that we will need to ensure a minimum of 6 feet physical distancing at all times (50% maximum occupancy in the building).  

Students will have the option to attend the SG Virtual Academy if they are unable to attend school in the building.

What will DISTANCE LEARNING look like if all students have to switch to this scenario?
Distance Learning will look differently than it did during the Spring of 2020.  Students will remain in their cohorts of 16 students, but learn from home.  Their lead teachers will remain the same.  Attendance will be taken daily.  We will strive to clearly communicate a student’s progression through academic standards and skills for success, so that parents and teachers can support growth.  Students who are not engaging during distance learning will require additional support, to avoid truancy.

What will SG VIRTUAL ACADEMY look like?
The SG Virtual Academy will be an online option for students and families who need it due to medical conditions or family preference.   Students who select this option will be enrolled with other online students in a cohort.  They will have a Learning Facilitator who will meet with them daily (individually or with other students in the SG Virtual Academy).  Their learning plan will be self-paced and will include coursework delivered through an online learning platform.  

Can I switch between IN PERSON Learning and the SG VIRTUAL ACADEMY at any time?
To provide consistency for the child and for the teachers, our goal would be that you only switch at a quarter break (approximately 9 weeks).  We understand that circumstances could change for our families throughout this time, and exceptions to this may be considered if the need arises.

If there is a case in our school community, what happens next?
If there is a case in our school community the school district works together with the MN Department of Health.  MDH will walk our district through a process that is dependent on the circumstances in our community, as well as any general notifications.  

What if my child’s teacher is ill or needs to be home?
We are creating teaching teams so you and your child will be familiar with more than one teacher.  If one teacher is ill or needs to be home, the other teacher will be able to cover.   We will also be using substitute teachers when needed to guide student learning in a teacher’s absence as we have in past years.

Will children of Essential Works have the option of daycare during Distance Learning periods?  
If  you are a Tier 1 essential worker, the school district will continue to provide your children in-person learning during distance learning periods.    Tier 1 Essential Workers include:
  • Healthcare and public health  
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders  
  • Food and agriculture  
  • Judicial Branch (essential services) 
  • National Guard  
  • Educators and school staff caring for children of any critical worker
  • Child care providers caring for children of any critical worker 

Why are we asking about daycare and children within the same household?
With safety being a top priority, we want to minimize exposure to high volumes of people.  By grouping children who already interact with each other, we may be able to minimize exposure risks. Equally, this will be beneficial for non-school aged children at the daycare as well as the daycare providers.

What is an outdoor classroom like?
All grades will spend time outdoors, but some elementary teachers will be spending the majority of their day learning at parks outside (most likely Trollskogen Park). This will allow for a more natural separation of the students and the ability to use natural objects as learning manipulatives. As long as students and teachers are six feet apart they will be able to follow COVID19 outdoor parameters.

Will busing continue to pick up at the in-town routes?
Possibly.  Priority will be given to students who live outside the city limits.  If we are able to meet the spacing requirements and still pick up students in town, we will do so.
 
Why is the district considering a 4 day week, with Wednesday off?
Many districts are considering having all students stay home one day a week, Likely Wednesdays. There are a number of reasons for this. First it would allow the district a day to do a deep clean of the building. It would provide some reduction in exposure for the week.  It would provide students a break in the middle of the week from the required mandates for a safe environment (physical distancing, masking).
 
We realize that this would also create a hardship for some families.  Depending on the demand, it is possible that we would be able to provide supervision for children to be in school on Wednesdays.
 
In our registration process, we are asking families this question to see if this is something you would like the district to explore.

What will staggered start and end times look like this school year?
Families, bus groupings, and classes will be communicated with individually about their arrival and dismissal times that will be staggered to support smaller numbers of students entering and exiting the building at the same time. 

Can you use the same technology platform for all grades?
Parent feedback was very strong that a single platform was needed.  The district has decided that we will use Google Classroom as our main platform K - 12.  From there, individual teachers will provide links to other platforms (SeeSaw, Schoology) if needed.

Will office hours be continued during Distance Learning?
Yes, office hours will continue distance learning.  Feedback from parents and students indicated the office hours were very useful.  Office hours will be located on the teacher’s website.

What if I can’t decide what to do?
We know this is a very difficult decision to make, and we are here to support you in any way we can.  The decision that you make is the right decision.  

What if I am having trouble registering on JMC?
First, click on Register for 2020-2021 school year. Then, click on the Start/Continue the Registration Process button. Read the list of questions and explanations on the next page before clicking Next in the upper right hand corner. Fill out the information on each page and press Next each time you finish a page. Click Finish or Ok to complete registration.

What if my child has seasonal allergies?
Children with seasonal allergies will not be excluded from school.  Unfortunately the symptoms for seasonal allergies overlap with COVID-19 symptoms, making screening difficult.  We continue to work with Public Health and the CDC to improve our screening procedures prior to the start of the school year.

Will there be beginning of the year conferences for all students K - 12?
Yes, we will be holding beginning of the year conferences for all students  K - 12.  These will follow the same format that the beginning of the year Assessment Days did for K - 6.  It will be a time for you and your child to meet individually with your child’s teacher.  Our goal will be to do these in person, outdoors at school, with online meetings also an option.

Will all classes be multiage this year?
Not necessarily, but with student and staff safety being a primary goal some classes may become multiage.  It has always been our plan with multiage grades in the past to allow parents the choice. Now, in a grade with 20 students, if some parents find an outdoor environment to be a better fit, and other parents want their child to be with other children from the same daycare, and the district goal is to reduce the number of students in a classroom, more cohorts may become multiage.  

Will we need to rent a computer in 7 - 12 this year?
No, families will NOT need to rent devices this year.  Families will be responsible for misuse of devices

If I have multiple children, and I have selected that I want my children to be in the same classroom, how will you know which ones?
For parents who indicate that they want their children to be in the same classroom, we will follow up with after registration for more information.

What is the recommendation for mask washing?
CDC recommends that cloth face coverings should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.  The school district will have additional cloth face coverings available for students, teachers, and staff in case a back-up cloth face covering is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of cloth face coverings.

What will the 9th – 12th grade schedule look like?

Below is a draft of the 9th – 12th grade schedule.  There may be changes prior to September 10.

In Person Learning - Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday
Distance/Virtual Learning - Wednesday
8:30 - 9:00 am    Office Hours and Soft Landing
9:00 - 10:15 am - Period 1 (W - 9:00 - 9:45 am - Period 1)
10:15 - 11:30 am - Period 2 (W - 10:15 - 11:00 am - Period 2)
11:30 am - 12:30 pm - Lunch/Office Hours
12:30 - 1:45 pm - Period 3 (W - 12:30 - 1:15 pm - Period 3)
1:45 - 3:00 pm - Period 4 (W - 1:45 pm - 2:30 pm - Period 4)
3:00 pm - 3:20 pm Office Hours

What does it mean when you say “soft landing” and soft exit”?

In addition to using 3 separate entrances and exits (Door #1 for K – 3, Door #3 for 4 – 8, and Door #6 for 9 – 12), students will have a staggered arrival and department time between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.  Buses will arrive at 8:30. Families will bring their children at the same time.  You will determine what approximate time you would like to arrive (8:30, 8:45, 8:55) with your child’s teacher at the Beginning of the Year Conferences.  If we need to make adjustments due to congested times, we will let you know. 

Will the school district be taking student’s temperatures when they arrive at school?

All parents are expected to screen their children at home daily.  If your child answers yes to any COVID symptoms, you must keep your child home.  Upon arrival at school, staff will also monitor children for symptoms.  Currently, fever is currently presenting as a secondary symptom in our area.   If a child has another COVID symptom, the district will take their temperature, however, universal temperature screenings will not be conducted at this time. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Requirement to Wear Face Coverings – from the MN Department of Health