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Family update on returning to in-person learning for Jan. 25, 2021

This week is the beginning of elementary schools transitioning to in-person learning. Please read below for reminders about the schedule, transportation information, and health & safety protocols. 

For Middle & High School Students

At this time, middle and high school students will continue in distance learning and no date has been chosen for a change in learning model. The decision to change learning models is still closely tied to how many new cases of COVID-19 there are in the community. As of Jan. 21, the rate of new cases per 10,000 residents was 53 in Dakota County and 48.6 in Scott County. The state recommends rates between 10 and 29 for using a hybrid learning model, and below 10 for in-person learning for middle and high school students. 

The district’s COVID Advisory Committee - which includes parents, staff members and health service staff - meets every week to review the most recent information about COVID in our community and provide input on the potential for changing the learning model. In addition, school leaders are planning now so a change to hybrid can be made when conditions improve.

What is the timeline for elementary students to return to in-person learning?

The timeline for our elementary students to return to in-person learning is:

  • Jan. 27-28 - No school for Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 2. All other grades continue with distance learning. These days will be used to prepare for students to return on Feb. 1.
  • Jan. 29 - No school for all students. This is a planned day for professional development and for teachers to complete Semester 1 report cards. 
  • Feb. 1 - Students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 will begin full-time, in-person learning, five days per week; Pre-Kindergarten classes will return to their typical schedules. See details below.  
  • Feb. 11-12 - No school for Grades 3-5. These days will be used to prepare for students to return on Feb. 15.
  • Feb. 15 - Students in Grades 3-5 will begin full-time, in-person learning, five days per week. 

On transition days (Jan. 27-28 for grades PreK-2, Feb. 11-12 for grades 3-5), do Virtual Academy students still have school?

Yes, transition days will be school days for Virtual Academy students.

How will Pre-Kindergarten be affected?

Starting Feb. 1, Pre-Kindergarten classes held at elementary school sites will return to in-person learning. Details about the specific schedule will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

Preschool students at Diamondhead Education Center will return to their originally assigned schedules starting Feb. 1. Teachers will reach out to confirm each child’s schedule. 

Ready to Grow/Ready to Learn preschool will continue to provide preschool childcare at our Diamondhead Education Center location. 


Postcards with school bus information were mailed on Monday, Jan. 25 to elementary students who use district transportation. Families should receive them soon. Bus information is also available on ParentVUE.

As a reminder, students must wear face masks while riding the bus. Seats will be assigned and attendance will be taken by school staff to help with contact tracing. Roof hatches and windows will be open slightly in order to provide more ventilation, and buses will be cleaned and disinfected between routes. 

Health and Safety Protocols

Staying home when sick is one of the best ways to fight COVID-19. Families should screen and monitor for illness each morning before sending their children to school. 

In addition, the following health and safety protocols will be in place as elementary students return to school.

  • Masks will still be required for students in school and while riding the bus.
  • Staff members must wear a mask AND face shield while working in school buildings.
  • The social distancing requirements for students will be at least 3 feet; for staff, social distancing will remain at 6 feet.
  • COVID-19
  • Elementary School
  • High School
  • Middle School