Safe Return to In-Person

FARMINGTON AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS 
PLAN FOR SAFE RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION 
AND CONTINUITY OF SERVICES

 

PURPOSE:
Ensure that every student in the state of Minnesota receives an equitable education and has equal access to the learning they need coming out of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
Farmington Area Schools

  • Connection over content
  • Less is more with Depth, Richness and High Cognitive Demand
  • Designed flexibility
  • Monitor, evaluate, and respond


State of Minnesota

  • Practice servant leadership
  •  Treat everyone with respect and dignity
  •  Do the right thing, especially when it is difficult
  •  Ask how your actions are reinforcing or removing structural inequity
  •  Promote the common good over narrow special interests
  •  Be accessible, transparent, and accountable
  • Include voices from communities who will be most impacted


OUR DISTRICT ENSURES:

  • Educational Continuity
  • Equity
  • Equal Access for ALL students


THREE SCENARIOS FOR 2021-2022
Farmington Area Schools is planning for full time, in person learning for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.  We desire to maximize our in person learning that was in place at the end of 2020-21 school year, however we will plan for all three different scenarios based on previous guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health.  These three scenarios may be used at any time during the 2021-22 school year based on recommendations or requirements from local public health experts:

  • Scenario 1:  In-person learning for all students
  • Scenario 2:  Hybrid learning with strict social distancing and capacity limits
  • Scenario 3:  Distance learning only

Scenario 1:  In-person learning for all students
In this planning scenario, schools will organize to meet the needs of learners and the variety of spaces they will use to support learning, but will not be held to any physical distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom. 

Scenario 2:  Hybrid learning with strict social distancing and capacity limits
In this planning scenario, schools must limit the overall number of people in school facilities and on transportation vehicles to 50% maximum occupancy. Sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times. If distancing cannot be achieved in a space or on a transportation vehicle, the number of occupants must be reduced. Schools must also include plans for contactless pick up and/or delivery of meals and school materials for days that students and staff are not in the school building, as well as implementation of a school-age care program for critical workers. This scenario may be implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen at the local, regional, or statewide level. Scenario 2 may also be implemented within a school if they experience clusters of cases within a classroom or the school.
 
Hybrid learning defined – Hybrid is commonly used to describe classes in which some traditional face-to-face instruction has been replaced by distance learning activities. A hybrid class is designed to integrate face-to-face and distance learning activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate on one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom. During classroom instruction time, students can be engaged in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The distance learning components can include multimedia-enhanced content, learning practice, and channels for ongoing discussion. In some hybrid approaches, direct instruction that normally takes place in the classroom is “flipped” with intentional online learning tasks. Another method involves facilitating flipped, short mini-lessons for students to access online (asynchronously or synchronously). 

Scenario 3:  Distance learning only
This scenario may be implemented if local, regional, or statewide COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require the suspension of in-person learning.
 
Distance Learning defined – Students engaging in distance learning have access to appropriate educational materials and receive daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s).
 
It is important to note that distance learning does not always mean e-learning or online learning. It is critical to provide this learning in a format that can be equitably accessed by all students.
 
MDE expects that students who participate in distance learning have full access to appropriate educational materials. Districts and charters must maintain educational continuity for schools and programs. As a district or charter, you must ensure equity in your plans. School districts and charters must ensure equal access to ALL students.
Considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring all students in the school or district will have equal access to the learning and required materials, including technology. If using an online learning system, ensure it can effectively support the district or school’s unique learning and teaching needs, including the ability to provide differentiated instruction as well as one-on-one support for students who need it. Regardless of where the learning is happening, supports identified on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan must be provided (more detail below). Individual Learning Plans for English Language Learners must also be followed.
  • Consider student privacy when developing your distance learning plan. See the U.S. Department of Education’s Protecting Student Privacy page, and their list of related resources.
  • Providing training to staff, students, and parents/guardians on implementation of your distance learning model and the district or school’s expectations.
  • Programming options for school nurses, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, paraprofessionals, other school specialists and cultural liaisons.
  • Tracking the attendance of both students and staff.
  • Ensuring the distance learning model in use is secure and will not allow for the release of protected student or staff information.

Schools should provide materials for students to continue their learning. Each school would determine the most appropriate way to communicate and provide instruction for each student which could include some/all of the following:

  • Paper packets or worksheets, which could be distributed daily by bus route or collected several times a week at a central location
  • Textbooks
  • Telephone instructions
  • Online resources (take into account availability of broadband)
  • Instruction via the school’s learning management system (LMS) 

EQUITY
Minnesota defines educational equity as the condition of justness, fairness and inclusion in our systems of education so that all students have access to the opportunities to learn and develop to their fullest potential. The pursuit of educational equity recognizes the historical conditions and barriers that have prevented opportunity and success in learning for students based on their races, incomes, and social conditions. Eliminating those structural and institutional opportunities requires systemic change that allows for distribution of resources, information and other support depending on the student’s situation to ensure an equitable outcome. 

Farmington Currently has an Equity Leadership Team. This team meets on a regular basis and plans and provides staff development to staff.  The staff development that has been provided has focused on understanding our own biases and judgments.  We continue to have deep discussions around race and inequality.  As a district we are also engaging in work around designing learning differently.  We want to provide equitable access to all educational opportunities and feel that we best can serve our students through Personalized Competency Based Learning.  Our staff continue to have opportunities to engage in this work and learn to use culturally responsive teaching strategies.

OPERATIONS

Farmington Area Public Schools COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Fall 2021


Face Coverings

  • Face coverings are required on all district provided transportation in accordance with federal guidelines. 
  • Face coverings are optional in district buildings. The CDC and MDH recommend all people in a school setting (ages 2 years and older) wear a mask, including teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Symptomatic people will be required to wear a face covering and isolate while waiting to go home or visiting the nurse. 

Physical Distancing & Cohorting

  • All learners will attend school in person five days a week.  
  • We will maximize physical distancing in learning spaces to the extent possible. 
  • Intermixing of elementary classes will be limited to the extent possible.   

Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocols

  • Cleaning and sanitizing protocols from the 2020-21 school year will continue.  
  • Hand washing routines will continue.  
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available. 

Daily Health Screening

Isolation

  • Isolation protocols from the 2020-21 school year will continue for any learner or staff member who is displaying COVID-19 like symptoms.  

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases will continue to be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health.  

Quarantine

  • Quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure is not required if: 
    • Individual(s) are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms. 
    • Individual(s) have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms. 
  • Learners or staff are required to quarantine, following the duration guidance specified in the MDH Decision Tree, if they:  
    • test positive for COVID-19 or 
    • have COVID-19 like symptoms or 
    • live with someone who tests positive/displays COVID-19 like symptoms unless: 
      • Individual(s) are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms. 
      • Individual(s) have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days and do not have symptoms. 
  • Families and staff will be notified of an exposure in an ISD 192 setting and should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. 

Transportation

  • Masks are required on all district provided transportation in accordance with federal  guidelines.  
  • 6 feet of physical distance will be maintained between drivers and riders. 

If the CDC and/or Minnesota Department of Health issues new requirements at any point throughout the year, ISD 192 will make any necessary adjustments and communicate those with staff and families as soon as possible. In addition to these COVID-19 protocols and procedures, for mitigation strategies with additional types of illness please also refer to the ISD 192 Guidelines for Keeping Children Home.

Health Expectations and COVID-19 Screening
Farmington Area Schools will follow all Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines.
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/plan.html

Partnership with Tribal Communities
The district’s distance learning plan was developed in accordance with the Farmington Area Public Schools American Indian Education Program Plan.

Activities and Athletics

We continue to follow the guidance outlined by Minnesota Department of Health in conjunction with the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL).  


ACADEMICS
In Farmington, we focus on Personalized Competency Based Learning (PCBL).  In a personalized-competency based learning environment each learner is challenged and supported based on their learning progression. Learners meet the same common learning targets with the flexibility to determine how they demonstrate their learning. With the support of their teacher, learners co-create their experiences. Learners are encouraged to explore their interests and learn based on their strengths. PCBL develops the whole person, supporting each learner’s social, emotional, mental, and physical needs.

We are fortunate that we have supported learning through Flex Learning Days, both planned and emergency, over the past half dozen years.  Due to this experience, we are uniquely positioned to address an extended closing and continue learning for our students.   

We are lucky to be able to address this extended school closing so naturally.  With the use of our digital learning platform, Schoology, supporting daily learning for the past eight years, and the fact that over 95% of our students have Internet access in their home, learning will continue.

Following are considerations teachers will follow in planning for flex learning time:

  • Plan for daily interaction with students and provide students equitable access to learning materials.
    • Plan with other staff (interventionists, paraprofessionals, counselors/student advocates, sped staff, EL staff, GEL) to support:
      • Accommodations & Modifications
      • Mental Health Support
  • Plan for Self-Directed Learning – Design learning experiences that are manageable by students working independently and connected to the learning progression. One of the main, positive outcomes of a flexible learning day is teaching students to be more self-directed as appropriate to the level of the 
    student. Learning should not require sustained attention by parents. 
    • For primary grades:
      • Use programs and activities that are familiar to families.
      • Include ideas for brain breaks
      • Include choice activities that are relevant to the learning progression for parent and student flexibility.
  • Anticipate Time Requirements - Recognizing that students learn at different paces, especially in an independent context, it is important to consider students who you picture as struggling through the assignment and design activities that they can complete in the time they would have been with you in class.  
    • For primary and secondary grades: include an estimate of time needed to complete each activity.  
    • Pre-K: 30-45 minutes (recommended)
      • Be mindful that families will need to provide support for these activities and plan accordingly
    • For Elementary:  Here are the proposed recommendations for TOTAL amount of work time per grade level. 
      • Kindergarten - 45 minutes - 1 hour
      • First Grade - 1-2 hours
      • Second Grade - 1-2 hours
      • Third Grade - 1.5-2.5 hours
      • Fourth Grade - 2-3 hours
      • Fifth Grade- 2-3 hours
    • For Secondary: Be mindful that students have multiple classes and plan accordingly.  2.5-3.5 hours for all classes combined
  • Equity materials & Personalized Learning - Teachers will plan based on an equitable design of learning.  Personalized learning, based on individual background knowledge and personal goals provides an equitable approach for all students.
  • Learning Loss - Teachers will be assessing where students are in their learning progression and develop personalized learning goals.
  • Assessment & Grading - We will continue to use NWEA, district assessments, and grading will be based around evidence of learning.  
  • Students with Special Education & 504s -  Students with disabilities will have equitable access to specialized instruction and related services so that they have access to general education standards and continue to demonstrate progress toward the general education standards and IEP goals.   
    • IEP teams will meet to discuss services for all three models of instruction - in-person, hybrid and distance learning.
    • Despite the fact that many students with IEPs use iPads to support learning, there will be modifications in order to implement appropriate instructional strategies that comply with IEPs.  Specialized Service staff will work with classroom teachers to support students that need modifications/accommodations to support learning in addition to providing instructional activities aligned with current IEP goals, services, and related services.  Specialized Service staff will work with students and families on assistive technology needs.
    • Staff will plan for the needs of students eligible for special education, child find activities, evaluations/reevaluations, and IEP implementation.
  • Student receiving academic interventions and English Language support - As much as possible, service delivery in distance learning will reflect and align with the service students receive in the classroom. For example, co-taught classrooms will continue to be co-taught and students will receive support and feedback from the EL teacher and intervention teachers along with the classroom teacher.
  • American Indian, English Language Learners, Migrant & Homeless Students - We understand that students face unique challenges and need extra support.  Our schools work to identify these subgroups and provide the individualized support that each student needs.  We also understand that it is important to create strong partnerships with parents to help these students be successful. 
  • Early Learning - Any student who receives special education in the Birth - 5 program will continue to receive services in each of the three scenarios.  Our community Education department offers programming for our young learners who are not in Kindergarten.  They will continue to provide these programs in all three scenarios and will follow the MN Department of Health guidelines for all student programming. Early Childhood screenings will continue as long as families are able to enter the buildings.
  • Community Education - The Farmington Education department has been creative in still offering as many programs as possible while still following the guidelines set forth by the MN department of Health.  Programming will be offered for children of all ages and adults.
  • Staff Collaboration - Staff will develop common expectations and common communications by grade-level/team/department.  When everyone knows what to expect, students and families can focus on the learning.  Collaborative teams should meet consistently on a weekly basis and the meeting times should be communicated with building principals.  These collaborative meetings should include special education staff, counselors/student advocates, GEL teachers, EL teachers, interventionists, paraprofessionals, and any other school personnel as needed.

STUDENT AND FAMILY SUPPORTS

Regardless of whether we are in person, hybrid or distance learning, we know the importance that family and student relationships will have at the start of the year.  More importantly, with the impact of COVID-19, unemployment, economic uncertainty and the racial justice movement, we know that all of our students have experienced trauma at one level or another.   

Our priorities will be on Social Emotional Learning, Mental Health, and Family Engagement.

Social Emotional Learning
Social emotional learning (SEL) is broadly understood as a process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships and making responsible decisions that supports their success in school and in life. SEL develops cognitive social competencies, such as self-awareness, self-management and social awareness, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Developing such competencies in students fosters positive social skills, reduces conduct problems, diminishes emotional stress and improves academic performance.

Farmington Public Schools feel it is important to not only educate staff and students on trauma informed practices, but also practice and live it. We will continue to be building and enhancing our relationships we have with students and families. We will encourage staff members to focus their time on our guiding principle - connections over content - and give them permission to prioritize social emotional learning. Our relationship with Panorama will help us collect both baseline and ongoing data to help inform our steps along the way. Professional development time will be utilized for Social Emotional learning throughout the school year as determined by school leadership teams. Additionally, leadership teams will determine in what ways they will support social emotional learning for students.

Mental Health Supports 
Farmington Area Public Schools believes the mental and emotional well-being of our learners is a priority. Several staff in the district have experience with Trauma informed instruction and are available to provide professional development as needed. Additionally, our student support teams and counselors are able to provide support and resources to families experiencing mental health concerns. Farmington Area Schools also partners with school based therapists to provide more intense support for students.

Family and Community Engagement
The purpose of family engagement in public preK-12 education is to ensure that schools and districts provide all families with the information and opportunities necessary to meaningfully participate in and shape their children’s educational experience. It guarantees inclusion of diverse perspectives and lived experiences, and is grounded in the belief that families and their broader communities play a key role in providing children with a purposeful and effective learning experience that values their linguistic, heritage, and cultural attributes. 
 
Bullying and Harassment

Farmington Area Schools will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate what occurred when responding to reports of bullying or harassment. If parents and families believe their child has experienced bullying, harassment, or intimidation related to the COVID-19 outbreak, they should contact their school principal.

English Learners
Farmington Area Public Schools, ISD 192, has a legal and ethical responsibility to provide access to academic content and to facilitate student progress towards English language proficiency (ELP). In order to meet the needs of English learners, districts have found that during hybrid instruction there are three main areas of focus: connections with families, relationships with students, and collaboration among teachers providing instruction. 

Partnerships with Tribal Communities
The district’s learning plan was developed in accordance with the Farmington Area Public Schools American Indian Education Program Plan.

Partnerships with Community
We will work with our community partners, such as the food shelf, library, etc. and determine how to best meet the needs of families within our community.

Students Experiencing Homelessness and Housing Instability
Farmington Area Schools will ensure that these students will have the following.

  • Equitable access to education
  • Homeless Liaison will work with school counselors and our Community 360 workers in the district to identify and support students who fall in this category. 
  • Access will be provided either digitally, and if they do not have internet or unable to attain free internet, materials will be provided in a paper format.

Students Receiving Special Education Services
Case managers and IEP teams will develop a Continuous Learning Plan for each child.


EDUCATOR SUPPORT AND PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
All employees of the district have been through a national crisis. While it is important to focus on the social emotional wellness of students, school staff have been impacted. Returning staff will have different emotions and abilities to adjust to the transition back to school, meet changing expectations, and manage increased student needs. Staff may also be dealing with their own worries and anxieties for themselves and their families. Some may be grieving losses of family members, colleagues, or students who are no longer with the school or who have succumbed to the illness. Social emotional learning and self-care starts with adults in school buildings, and leaders should consider making resources available and build well-being activities into daily routines for all staff. Staff experiencing more difficulties may need positive coping mechanisms, additional mental health services, or crisis support.

Mental Health and Well Being
All employees of the district have been through a national crisis. While it is important to focus on the social emotional wellness of students, school staff have been impacted. Returning staff will have different emotions and abilities to adjust to the transition back to school, meet changing expectations, and manage increased student needs. Staff may also be dealing with their own worries and anxieties for themselves and their families. Some may be grieving losses of family members, colleagues, or students who are no longer with the school or who have succumbed to the illness. Social emotional learning and self-care starts with adults in school buildings, and leaders should consider making resources available and build well-being activities into daily routines for all staff. Staff experiencing more difficulties may need positive coping mechanisms, additional mental health services, or crisis support. 

In Farmington, the employee wellness committee will focus the year on providing wellness/mental health resources to staff.   The building nurses will attend staff meetings to provide health updates to employees.   A COVID-19 wellness/mental health resource page will be created on the staff resources page.  The employee assistance plan, with all its resources, will be highlighted on the staff resources page for employee access.  Telehealth options will also be described on the resources web page.

QComp & Teacher Development and Evaluation
Training for mentors/mentees will take place during workshop week.   Training will be differentiated for teachers new to the profession versus only new to Farmington.   Peer coach training will take place as usual in September/October.  PLC's may operate seamlessly under any of the 3 scenarios.  Continuing contract teachers may be deemed proficient with fewer than 3 observations providing the 1st takes place before winter break and a final takes place to review IGDP in the spring.  Observations may take many forms based on the desires of the teacher and the administrator (may be in-person, virtual or an alternative format).  Probationary teachers must complete 3 observations. Probationary teachers will be encouraged to observe other teachers.  A summative evaluation is required for probationary teachers and continuing contract teachers on high cycle.  Site goal criteria are TBD.

Professional Learning
Staff will also have continued professional development on the following topics throughout the year based on their personalized needs:

  • Equity
  • Design Learning
  • Depth of Knowledge
  • Competencies & Rubrics
  • Performance Assessments
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Trauma Informed Learning


Please click here for updated fall 2021 information.