The Shakopee school district’s learning leadership team is preparing for the school year under the assumption that hybrid learning will be the most prudent option, according to a pandemic planning document that was reviewed at a school board meeting earlier this month.
The hybrid learning plans are not set in stone until the district receives more clear direction from the state.
Under the tentative hybrid learning plan, most students would attend school one day and stay home the next day. The student body would be split alphabetically into two equal halves, with members of the same household placed in the same groups.
Early childhood programs will also likely fall under hybrid learning for this fall, according to the plan, but it will vary by program area.
Middle schools would move from a seven-period schedule to a four-period block schedule to keep smaller groups together as much as possible on the days when students are in school.
The plan also notes the district is examining the possibility of allowing kindergarteners, special needs students and some English learning students to attend school every day. The district is also working with the River Valley YMCA to develop a fee-based child care program at the now-vacant former Central Family Center for families who need child care on the days when their students are not in school.
The district is also planning for the possibility to have to pivot into either distance or in-person learning at any time throughout the school year if need be.
If the district needs to work under a distance learning model in the fall — or at any time during the 2020-2021 school year — it will use “a more robust and improved model based on what we learned last spring and what educators are recommending at the state and national levels,” according to the draft plan. It did not go into specifics.
The plan also states the district will look to the Minnesota Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Minnesota Department of Education for direction on what it means if students or staff members are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have tested positive themselves.
The district has taken several additional steps to enhance the cleanliness of its buildings, including increasing the amount of frequency being exchanged by the HVAC systems, the purchasing of a Victory Electrostatic disinfectant sprayer and pump for each building — which fully kills COVID-19 on surfaces — and installing plexiglass dividers in areas such as main offices and reception spaces.
The state will provide guidance July 27 that will give districts more concrete options for the start of the school year. The district will communicate its official plan on July 29.