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Back-to-School Update

Dear RPS Families & Staff,

This week we presented the back-to-school plan to the board for review. We are excited to announce that we are moving forward with the hybrid model and the Richfield Distance Learning Academy as presented.

There were several great questions asked by board members and by guests during the public comment portion. I want to address those questions here as well so that everyone has the information. 

Why are students in grades 6-12 only in school one day per week?

When we look at other schools who already brought students back but then had to switch to distance learning after an outbreak of COVID-19, one thing they had in common was that students were in schedules that had them moving classrooms and mixing with hundreds of other students, thus allowing an outbreak to quickly spread.

Our model keeps students in small cohorts (or pods) throughout the year so that if a student tests positive, there are only a small number of other students or staff who they have been in contact with, helping to prevent a school-wide outbreak from occurring.

It is not possible to keep students in pods at the secondary level while also teaching core content because not enough students have the same schedules. They have different electives, different level math classes, some are in the DLI program while others are not, etc. The only way to keep secondary students in pods is to bring them in for non-core classes such as career and college readiness, advisory and individual supports. 

Here’s the math:

In a pod with 20 students, if one student tests positive for COVID-19, 21 people are out of school for 14 days: 1x20 students + 1x1 teacher = 21 people exposed

Without pods, with a block schedule where students all come to school for 2 days per week and take 8 classes, if one student tests positive for COVID-19, up to 168 people are out of school for 14 days: 1x20 students per class x8 classes = up to 160 students + 1 teacher x 8 classes = 8 teachers = up to 168 people exposed

If someone tests positive for COVID-19 in school, what is the process? Will families be notified?

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we partner with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure the appropriate individuals are notified. In general, there are two levels of communication that will be sent out.

  1. Students and staff who were in close contact with the individual (defined by the Minnesota Department of Health as 6’ or closer for 15 minutes or longer) will receive a letter and phone call informing them of the incident and asking them to quarantine for 14 days.
  2. Students and staff who were not in close contact with the individual, but otherwise potentially impacted because of their involvement in the school or an activity, will receive an informational notice to self-monitor, but will not be required to quarantine.

Detailed information about self-screening and other COVID-related responses will be posted on the website within the next week, including the contact information for the COVID coordinator at each school.

Are the school supply lists updated?

After reviewing the lists, it was determined that we will not be updating them for the fall. Families who enroll in the Richfield Distance Learning Academy can purchase the items as needed during the year. Students in the hybrid program should still plan to purchase all the supplies listed and keep them at home until their teacher tells them to bring specific supplies into school for the learning activities at that time.

Our school supply lists (grades K-8) are located on each school website under Family Resources and Back to School. The lists are aligned across grade-levels and not school or class-specific. 

Please note that you will see many items on the lists that are marked as “classroom supplies.” These items are not shared among students. Each student keeps the supplies that they currently need in their pencil box or pencil pouch (also on the list). The intent is to ensure every student has the items they need to be successful and also to eliminate the sharing of supplies among students during COVID-19.

Up Next

You will soon be hearing directly from schools about teacher assignments, A/B schedules, plans for the first week of school, Chromebook distribution and more. In a normal year, this information would have been sent out by now, but as you know, this is not a normal year.

We are all grateful for your understanding, patience and support.


Superintendent Steven Unowsky


Read More

Richfield High School Entrance

On May 5 & 19, interested 8th-grade students, as well as current RHS distance learning families, can tour Richfield High School. Tours last approximately 30 minutes. Sign up for a time that works for you. We look forward to meeting you and showing you our newly renovated spaces!


Student Walkout Policy

As a District, we prepare for the possibility of student walkouts in a way that supports peaceful assembly, while maintaining a safe learning environment. 

What We Stand For

The civil rights movement is not a chapter in History class. It is here and it is now. As educators, it is our job to support and empower students through these challenging times. Please read our statement on where we stand as a district.

Annual Family and Community Survey

We want to hear from you! Tell us how we're doing in our annual Family & Community Survey. Results will be used to evaluate our work and provide feedback for reflection and improvement.

Richfield High School: Where Dreams Are Realized

In Richfield Public Schools, creating an environment where students not only feel connected and supported, but also one where students want to return to after graduation is an accomplishment that we are proud of. We are thrilled to welcome RHS alum Ms. Rosas back into our District, this time as a teacher, with dreams of her own to support and inspire her students.

Hate Has No Place Here

In Richfield Public Schools, we pride ourselves on our open, welcoming community. We want every student, family and staff member to feel supported and valued.

Expanded 6-12 Hybrid Program

We are excited to share with you the plans for the expanded hybrid programs at the secondary level. Hybrid learning students in grades 6-12 will be able to attend in person four days per week. Distance learning is still an option for all students.

In-Person Learning for Elementary Students

We would like to share with you the plan to expand our in-person program for elementary students. Starting on Wednesday, March 17, all elementary students who have been on a waitlist for hybrid/in-person learning will be able to attend school five days per week. 

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