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Restart Plan Update - Secondary Students

*This communication pertains only to the Middle School and High School**

Dear Big Lake Schools Community,

Earlier this week we shared that the elementary students will be able to return to in-person learning on January 19, 2021. We also shared that we were waiting for approval from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on our plans for secondary students to return, as well. After our consultation with MDH and MDE, we are able to return secondary students to hybrid learning beginning January 21, 2021 with two significant changes to our hybrid learning model. 

The first change is that in Executive Order 20-94, Governor Walz requires schools to provide teachers an extra 30 minutes of preparation time to prepare for students in distance learning or hybrid learning each day. This 30 minute prep time can be used each day or districts can combine the time to a 2.5 hour block. Our goal is to maximize in-person learning and provide the least disruption to transportation services as a result of this new requirement. On Wednesdays when all 6-12 students are engaged in distance learning, 6-12 students will have a 2.5 hour late start. Students are expected to follow the current Wednesday schedule they have in place during distance learning.

The second change is that our previous hybrid model had Group A students reporting in-person on Monday and Tuesday, with Group B students reporting in-person on Thursday and Friday. We’ve received feedback from our community and our teachers that this schedule creates challenges keeping students engaged throughout the week without an in-person opportunity to check-in with their teacher. At times, students were going up to 5 days without having an opportunity to return to school in-person and receive support from their teachers or interact with peers. To help keep our students engaged and reduce the length of time away from school, we will begin following this schedule on January 25: 

  • Monday: Group A students report in-person, Group B is in distance learning
  • Tuesday: Group B students report in-person, Group A is in distance learning
  • Wednesday: distance learning day for all 6-12 students (with 2.5 hour late start)
  • Thursday: Group A students report in-person, Group B is in distance learning
  • Friday: Group B students report in-person, Group A is in distance learning 

In order to fairly balance the number of in-person days for secondary students during the trimester, we will follow the schedule below the week of January 18:

  • January 18: No school for all students 
  • January 19: distance learning day for all 6-12 students
  • January 20: distance learning day for all 6-12 students (with 2.5 hour late start)
  • January 21: Group A students report in-person, Group B is in distance learning
  • January 22: Group B students report in-person, Group A is in distance learning 

Restarting in-person and hybrid instruction in the next few weeks is contingent on our community’s ability to maintain strong COVID-19 mitigation measures. We are thankful for our community support and the mitigation strategies that have taken place since the beginning of the school year. Please continue to follow recommended guidance from MDH to stay safe and healthy.

 

Sincerely,

Tim Truebenbach

Superintendent