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Coronavirus Update 3-12

Coronavirus Update 3/12/2020
Posted on 03/12/2020
Robbinsdale Area Schools logoMarch 12, 2020

Dear Robbinsdale Area School families and staff:

We are writing to share important updates on our District’s response to ongoing news related to coronavirus (COVID-19). We are following the latest recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There is no recommendation to close schools in Minnesota at this time.

Additionally, Robbinsdale Area Schools has been working collaboratively with principals and staff to refine our e-Learning plan/online learning in order to be ready to implement in the event schools were directed to close by the MDH.

Based on guidelines from the MDH and CDC, starting today through Spring Break, we are canceling and/or postponing events where large numbers of people will gather. Adventure Club and The Source will remain open, and practices will continue as scheduled. Canceled and/or postponed events include tonight’s State of the District Address, music performances/concerts and Empty Bowls. In-person conferences will not be held next week; your child’s principal will send an update regarding how conferences will be managed.

The Q&A (below) addresses the most common questions we have received and provides details on our e-Learning plan. Please note the two ACTION ITEMS for families. We will continue to communicate with you should the situation suddenly change.

The health, safety and well-being of our students, families and staff are our top priorities. We appreciate your support and partnership.

Sincerely,

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Robbinsdale Area Schools

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Question 1:
Potential school closure: Who decides whether school will close?
Answer:
Robbinsdale Area Schools (and all Minnesota public school districts) will be directed to close by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), which is working in partnership with the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If the MDH determines that our district will close, Robbinsdale Area Schools will send notifications to staff and families via email, robocall, social media and local news outlets.
ACTION ITEM: Please review and update your family's Parent Portal/Infinite Campus contact information to ensure we have the most current telephone numbers and email addresses for parents/guardians. If you have questions, please contact your school's head secretary for assistance.

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Question 2:
Absences: Who is monitoring absences in our district?
Answer:
Monitoring absenteeism is always a high priority. School nurses will continue to carefully monitor student absences and illnesses, and report large increases in absenteeism. 
ACTION ITEM: We ask families to report illness symptoms when they phone the attendance line so we can review absentee patterns and best track the health of the school and community. The CDC recommends that if you or a family member gets sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough or have trouble breathing:
  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room.
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
(If your student will be absent for an extended period of time, families should report longer absences to their child's school office staff, as usual.)

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Question 3:
Travel: Should students be traveling during this time? Who is monitoring returning travelers in our community?
Answer:
Robbinsdale Area Schools is following travel guidelines developed by the CDC. Our district has received clear direction that travelers returning to Minnesota from areas of community spread should be monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health. Exclusion and self-isolation will be based on recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and/or a physician. Robbinsdale Area Schools will cooperate with directives from the MDH should a member of our community become infected with COVID-19.

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Question 4:
Disease Prevention: How do we limit the spread of infectious disease?
Answer:
Students and staff will be encouraged to practice proper hand washing techniques and preventive strategies for flu and other common illnesses. The same guidelines apply to COVID-19. We encourage you to follow these healthy habits:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. For more guidance see the CDC: When and How to Wash Your Hands and Handwashing Video. If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol content.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough into the inside of the elbow. Dispose of tissues immediately and wash hands afterward.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Students should stay at home when sick and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine) or after vomiting or diarrhea. Following routine practice, students who come to school with a fever will be sent home. Students who are ill will be kept separate from well students until they can leave the building.
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Question 5:
Is the district implementing additional cleaning measures through facilities and custodial staff?
Answer:
Yes. In addition to the routine cleaning and disinfection that occurs every day in each building, the facilities and custodial staff members are focusing extra attention on frequently touched surfaces including door knobs, tables, countertops and drinking fountains. The district also plans to extensively clean every building over spring break, March 23-27.

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Question 6:
Continuity of Learning Plan: How will students engage in high-quality learning if the schools are closed?
Answer:
Robbinsdale Area Schools is continuing to review the districtwide e-Learning plan in the event of long-term school closure. Robbinsdale Area Schools staff are accustomed to using technology as a learning tool to deliver content, set academic milestones and expectations, and collaborate with each other. In the event of a long-term closure, our District would require partnership from students, parents, teachers and staff to provide meaningful instruction which meets state guidelines for the continuity of learning.

How Families Can Prepare for the Possibility of e-Learning During a School Closure
  • Become familiar with our district website, including our  e-Learning Plan and parent portals page.
  • Preschool, ECFE Preschool* and ECSE: The District will monitor circumstances and make determinations about Early Learning programs on a case-by-case basis.
    • Learning platform: SCOREcards, developed by your student's teacher, provide academic progress and knowledge for students, continue classroom instruction and provide an accountable means for students to show learning.
    • *SCOREcards will not apply to ECFE classes other than ECFE Preschool.
  • Grades K-5: At the Elementary Level, learning activities may be a combination of SCOREcards, Seesaw and Schoology assignments. 
    • Learning platform: SCOREcards, developed by your child's teacher, provide academic progress and knowledge for students, continue classroom instruction and provide an accountable means for students to show learning. Families should practice logging in to Seesaw and/or Schoology from home and become familiar with the platform to help monitor academic progress. If you have questions about accessing your Seesaw account, please contact your student's school. Please review this video if you have any questions about how to use Schoology.
    • Technology: Starting today, we are asking students in grade 5 to bring their Chromebooks and chargers home and back to school daily (including weekends), in addition to ensuring their devices are fully charged. 
  • Grades 6-12: At the Secondary Level (high school and middle school), learning activities will be Schoology based. 
    • Learning platform: Families should practice logging in to Schoology from home and become familiar with the platform to help monitor academic progress. Please review this video if you have any questions about how to use Schoology.
    • Technology: Starting today, we are asking students in grade 5 to bring their Chromebooks and chargers home and back to school daily (including weekends), in addition to ensuring their devices are fully charged. If you do not have a device and/or an Internet connection at home, please contact Joel Mehring, Assistant Director of Technology, at joel_mehring@rdale.org
  • Adult Basic Education: All e-Learning provided through Adult Basic Education will adhere to State-approved Distance Learning guidelines. Teachers and staff will work to ensure that currently enrolled students have active logins and passwords in order to successfully access their Distance Learning platform. Teachers will communicate expectations with their students via email and telephone calls on e-Learning days and/or will be available by email or phone (via voicemail) during working hours.
  • Attendance will be monitored during an extended e-Learning period. Other means of checking "attendance" for younger students will be communicated to parents via Seesaw, and they will require parent partnership. Individual teachers will be responsible for assessing student progress.
  • Watch for updates through Robbinsdale Area Schools official communication channels:
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Helpful resources:
Links to trustworthy state and national agencies: