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August 3, 2020

SUBJ: EPS 2020-21 Learning Models

Dear EPS Families and Staff,

We are pleased to release information today about the two learning models the district plans to implement to begin the 2020-21 school year:

  • Based on Hennepin County COVID case data provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, we will offer a hybrid model of learning for all students, which is a blend of in-school learning following strict safety guidelines, and at-home learning via technology.
  • Additionally, families may choose to have their students participate in full time distance learning in the newly designed Edina Virtual Academy. Through “lessons learned” from last spring, summer focus groups with students, parents and staff, research and professional development, the crisis-mode distance learning model has been improved and promises a more holistic approach to online learning.

Visit the 2020-21 Learning Models web page for information about both models, including: the hybrid A/B, 2-1-2 schedule and four-day kindergarten plan; and the new Edina Virtual Academy.

FAMILY DASHBOARD

District Communications has created a web-based Family Dashboard designed to help you easily find information related to the coming school year. Today we are able to open a few of the Dashboard buttons, and we will continue to open more over the next several days, including COVID Monitoring and FAQs.

KEEPING NUMBERS LOW TO STAY IN SCHOOL

We all want students and teachers together in school, in a safe learning environment. To maintain the hybrid model, the number of Hennepin County cases will need to remain within the guidelines we have been directed to follow by the Governor’s order and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We are creating plans that would allow us to expand the number of in-school learning days, or to pivot classrooms, schools or the district to at-home, as the Hennepin County COVID case data warrants.

Of course, the more times we pivot to a different learning model, and then back, the more disruption this will create for students, families, and staff. So we do not intend to shift learning models with every data release, rather we will watch for data trends and work closely with MDH in order to make decisions that will keep our learning environments safe for everyone.

Edina is one community within Hennepin County, so we alone will not determine how the virus acts in the coming months. But exercising control over things we are able to control will contribute to the big picture and will help keep school up and running, and in-person. We will strictly follow MDH and CDC safety guidelines in our schools, and I encourage you to review this MDH web page for information on How to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19.

WHAT ELSE

Messages from Schools:  Principals and school staff are finalizing details for back-to-school information which will include virtual events and potentially, in-person opportunities. For those in hybrid learning the first days of school will follow a special schedule as we ramp-up to hybrid. Watch for details to come soon.

Childcare: We know this is a topic of interest for many and we are working on ways to align this program with our learning models. We will know more after families have indicated their preferred learning model and we can determine space availability. More to come.

Nutrition Services: We want to assure families that the district will continue to provide breakfast and lunch meals to families who need food support, no matter which learning model they choose for their students.

WHAT’S NEXT

Learning Model Choice: Later this week, families will receive information about how to opt out of hybrid learning and choose Edina Virtual Academy for their student(s). We will be asking for a one-semester commitment to this decision so that we can properly plan staffing and class sizes. Please review information about both learning models.

Student Schedules: Once we have preferred learning model information from families, we will be able to complete staff and facility planning, and student rostering. Student-specific information will go out to families as soon as it is finalized.

New Families: Watch for your portal login credentials to arrive in the U.S. Mail mid-week

EPS Employees: Details about Welcome Week and professional development plans are coming soon!

I think most are aware of the virus outbreak among young people in Edina in early July. While this outbreak began with gatherings outside of district-sponsored activities, it had an impact on our programming for a number of weeks. For this reason, we will proceed cautiously as we launch the school year and watch for opportunities to expand in-school learning.

We’ve taken a big step toward beginning the 2020-21 school year. There are additional planning days ahead and you can expect more information to come your way in the next days and weeks as we finalize schedules and school-level details. Stay tuned!

Take care,


John Schultz
Superintendent