The spring of 2020 brought about unprecedented changes to our society and our education system. South St. Paul Public Schools shifted to 10-weeks of Distance Learning, providing Emergency School Meals and Emergency School-Age Care. SSP, along with schools across the state and nation, used the summer to plan for a safe and successful 2020-21 school year.
In June, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released guidance for school districts to plan for three scenarios for the 2020-21 school year. SSP began planning for the three senarios with a commitment to the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and community as the highest priority, while offering flexible learning opportunities to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all our students.
At the end of July, MDE released a plan for school districts to utilize the different scenarios of distance, hybrid or in-person learning based on the number of COVID-19 cases in their county over the past 14 days. The plan called for districts to work with the MN Department of Health (MDH), the MN Department of Education (MDE) and local health experts to determine a learning scenario to begin the school year and then during the school year MDH will closely monitor local cases throughout and could order individual schools or districts into distance learning.
Our Guiding Principles
Throughout the summer, our District Pandemic Advisory Committee and 14 program-specific Design Teams (i.e.. Elementary, Secondary, Learning, Technology, Health, Finance, etc.) met to study guidance from the MN Department of Health (MDH), MDE and Center for Disease Control (CDC). Our task was to design comprehensive plans to meet the needs of each and every learner in South St. Paul Schools, while at the same time, being sensitive to the difficulties and challenges faced by families, student and staff. As the pandemic continues to change and evolve, our teams continue to adapt plans for schooling this fall. Our plans are based on the following guiding principals:
- Safety - Student and staff safety is a top priority in our planning.
- High Quality Instruction - As they return, our students will need the support of both high quality instruction and strong social and emotional behavior support systems.
- Accurate and Timely Communication - All students, employees and families will be provided safety details and we will keep all stakeholders up to date with important information throughout the school year.
- Educational Equity - All students will be provided quality grade-level instruction and social-emotional support, with a focus on removing and ending racist practices.
- Flexibility - With the uncertainty and changing landscape, the district's plans will build in flexibility, so we're prepared to adjust based on the needs of stakeholders and changes to medical circumstances and public health guidance.
- Data and Decision Making - Our decisions will continue to be informed by health data, funding, workforce and educational agency guidance and with feedback from our families, students, employees and community members.
The Three Educational Scenarios
SSP developed three learning delivery scenarios, depending on the status of the COVID-19 situation. MDE requires three options to be available and for school districts to be able to quickly and safely shift into any of the different learning scenarios. We are encouraging families to prepare for all three scenarios to be put into place at some point during the 2020-21 school year.
- Scenario 1 - In-Person Learning
Students will learn at school, in-person with health and safety procedures and social distancing in place where feasible. LEARN MORE HERE.
- Scenario 2 - Hybrid: In-Person and Distance Learning
Students will learn in a hybrid model of in-person at school part-time and distance learning part-time. Building and busing capacities will be limited to 50 percent. Additional requirements for social distancing and minimizing exposure will be used. LEARN MORE HERE.
- Scenario 3 - Distance Learning
Students will learn at home through distance learning and will receive daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s). LEARN MORE HERE.