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Masks, Transportation Boundaries and Distance Learning

Dear Richfield Families,

As we approach the beginning of the new school year, we have a few quick updates for you regarding our face covering policy, transportation boundaries and online learning options. In addition to these districtwide updates, you should also be receiving information directly from your child’s school with the school-specific information you will need to start the school year strong.

Face Covering Policy

At the Richfield School Board meeting on August 16, the board voted to pass the updated face covering policy for the 2021-22 school year. This decision was made to support the health and safety of students and staff as local COVID-19 case rates are again on the rise. Combined with enhanced cleaning practices and regular hand washing, as well as home screenings, the goal is to ensure we can continue to provide in-person instruction this school year with as few students and staff in quarantine as possible.

We know mask mandates are a divisive issue in the country right now. The board heard from several concerned families and staff who were both for and against the face covering policy. Thank you to everyone who provided input on this. You have been heard, even if this isn’t the outcome you were advocating for. We remain grateful for the grace and understanding that our community has shown during these difficult times. In the end, the board followed the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Academy of Pediatrics.

You can review the face covering policy on our website. Here are a few key highlights:

  • Face coverings are required for all individuals over the age of 2 (regardless of vaccination status) when indoors in school buildings and district offices and when riding in school transportation vehicles.
  • When in school buildings or in district offices, individuals may temporarily remove their face covering in certain situations, including while eating or drinking or when playing musical instruments.
  • Face coverings are not required outdoors.

Transportation Boundaries

Also approved at Monday’s board meeting, we adjusted our transportation boundaries. Because students are no longer required to sit six feet apart on the school bus, we can accommodate more students and have therefore adjusted the boundaries to be similar to the pre-COVID boundaries. You can view the transportation boundaries on our website, along with information on Pay-to-Ride (for students outside the transportation boundary) and Safe Routes to School details for children who will be walking or riding their bicycles to school. For children who will be riding the bus, you can expect bus stop information to arrive in the mail the week before school starts. 

Distance Learning

We will be providing in-person learning five days per week in our schools (except for some preschool classes at the Central Education Center). While we believe in-person learning is the best learning environment for students, we know some families would prefer their children remain in distance learning. 

Based on the limited number of families who have expressed interest in distance learning this year, we do not have the resources to internally provide a comprehensive program for distance learning when the majority of students are attending school in person. At the same time, we are committed to providing our students with the best educational opportunities possible.  

To provide a high-quality online experience for our families who do not want their children to attend school in person, we will be partnering with 2-3 other schools that specialize in online education, with curriculum that is specifically designed for online delivery. Students enrolled in one of these programs through Richfield will still be considered RPS students, and they can still play sports and participate in extracurricular activities in Richfield. 

If you are interested in enrolling your child(ren) in online learning this fall, please complete this short interest form so that we can contact you directly with more information when this is finalized next week.

We are also finalizing a blended learning option for secondary students (grades 9-12) through our RCEP program, which has successfully implemented this style of education for many years. Students in the blended learning program would attend in-person classes 50% of the time and work remotely 50% of the time. For more information on this option, please contact RCEP staff at 612-243-3045.

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COVID-19 Information

Now that the school year is underway and daily routines are in place, we want to take a minute to remind you about some of the many COVID-19 practices that are in place to help protect the health and safety of students and staff.

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Effective this week, we have updated the process for signing up to make a public comment at a school board meeting. To sign up for public comment, you will need to complete this online form by noon on the day of the board meeting. 

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As we wrap up our three-year construction project, we want to celebrate by inviting the entire Richfield community to tour your newly renovated schools! Open house events will take place at each school between September 25 and October 1 (coinciding with homecoming week!).

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