Governor Walz and MDE Announce Return to School Options For The 2020-2021 School Year

Friday, July 31

St. Croix Prep Community,

On Thursday, July 30th, Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education offered guidance on the opening of the 2020-2021 school year under Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan. The learning models (in person, hybrid, and distance) available to St. Croix Prep will be based on the "14 day county level case rate", a calculation developed by MDH & MDE. The higher the case rate, the more limited the learning model, and vice versa. In addition, the plan allows for variation of learning model based on the age/grade of the students (due to transmission rates). In other words, based on these metrics, learning models may differ within our school building.

This sudden change in direction will require us to spend the next day or two evaluating the Covid-19 data, and other information, which will be released to us later today (Thursday, July 30th)

Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan metrics means that St. Croix Prep and Stillwater Area Public Schools will almost assuredly open with the same learning model.

Given the local decision making ability we now have, please note this:

  • We have been in weekly meetings with Stillwater Area Public Schools; and we are continuing to coordinate our approaches.
  • Due to our reliance upon Stillwater for our bus transportation, and the new metrics of operating, it appears inconceivable that St. Croix Prep can offer a learning model that differs from Stillwater.
  • Stillwater has already announced to their families they are preparing for a hybrid model, while offering distance learning to those families who prefer it. This communication mirrors a similar approach and we will continue to work under this assumption since they seem to be the most likely options.
  • St. Croix Prep’s next board meeting is on August 18, 2020. The board will consider holding a special meeting prior to this date to discuss the 2020-2021 school opening.

Given the above, please note the following:

First Day of School

Monday, August 31, 2020

Mark your calendars — we will begin classes on Monday, August 31. Stillwater Schools has changed their start date to Tuesday, September 8. St. Croix Prep will keep a start date of August 31, during which all of our instruction, until September 8, will be via distance learning. We will use this time to do a soft roll out of the school year by getting everyone familiar with technology, sign on procedures, class schedules, getting to know your kids, and answering the many questions you may have regarding this adventure we are embarking on.

Learning Registration

St. Croix Prep will most likely operate at some point during, if not start, the school year in the Hybrid Learning Model. In the Hybrid Learning Model each family has the option of choosing to place their student(s) in a Distance Learning Model. In preparation, St. Croix Prep must gather information on each family’s choice. Tomorrow’s Parent Update will include a link to St. Croix Prep’s Learning Model Registration. This registration will require that you answer four questions for each of your children attending St. Croix Prep:
  • Student’s Name
  • Student’s Grade
  • Learning Option for this Student – Hybrid or Distance
  • Bus Transportation — Yes or No
As you complete this registration, remember that a family may transition from the hybrid model to distance learning at any time; but a transition from distance learning to the hybrid model may only occur at mid-quarter or end of quarter. NOTE: If the Hybrid Model is not implemented initially, but is implemented later in the school year, families will be given the opportunity to modify their registration choice.

This registration must be completed by Friday, August 7. This data will help us determine classroom set up, food service requirements, bus transportation coordination with Stillwater, and potential staffing alignment.

Hybrid Model

  • Stillwater Area Public Schools provides bus transportation to St. Croix Prep therefore our hybrid models of implementation will be similar.
  • The hybrid model will be a 50% split of students who do not choose distance learning as their preference. For ease of bus transportation, keeping consistency for families with students in multiple schools (e.g. LS, MS, US, and Stillwater public schools) we will make this 50% split based on the student/family last name. 
  • The student pools “A” and “B” will attend school on the following days (NOTE: This is a change from previous communication.):
          • Monday – Group A (Blue)
          • Tuesday – Group B (Gold)
          • Wednesday – Group A (Blue)
          • Thursday – Group B (Gold)
          • Friday – Distance learning for everyone
  • Note: We will rename “A” and “B” to “Blue” and “Gold”, respectively.
  • This grouping will allow for restricted mixing of student groups, reduced cleaning, and an end of week day for instructional follow up, virtual office hours, and planning.
  • Synchronous Learning Environment. Our intention is to “livestream” each class, so that those students at home may view, listen, and participate in each of their scheduled classes. Curriculum will flow much easier, teacher preparation/work will be streamlined, and schedules will be more normalized. Our distance learning time from August 31 until September 8 will be used to refine this delivery model.

Academic Programming and Activities

  • Each school (e.g. Lower, Middle, Upper, Student Services) will communicate additional details related to the details of their operations. These will include Kindergarten Camp, Kindergarten Assessments, New Student Orientation, Book/Equipment pick up and return, etc.
  • Activities will follow the guidance from the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) which will occur very soon. They may issue guidance today but a hybrid model does seem to indicate that fall sports seasons will be conducted in some capacity.

We will be holding a meeting next week (e.g. in person and virtual) where you may attend, obtain more information, ask questions, etc.

We look forward to kicking off the new school year!