Announcement for the start of school

Posted by Forest Lake Area Schools on 7/30/2020 8:00:00 PM

This afternoon, Governor Walz gave guidance to Minnesota school districts, allowing them to make a local decision about the start of the school year based on county COVID case data.

Tonight, the Forest Lake Area School Board made the decision to follow the state framework of recommendations for how students will be learning this year.

Based on current data, this would mean that our school year will begin with all elementary (K-6) and early childhood students learning in-person at school, and all secondary (7-12, STEP) students attending school via a hybrid model of learning in-person part of the time and learning at home part of the time. 

Forest Lake Area Schools will accomplish the hybrid model through an every-other-day schedule for secondary students. Students will be split into two groups, a maroon group and a gold group, and will alternate between attending school one day and learning at home one day, repeating that pattern continuously. With the recent statewide rule requiring masks in public buildings, all students and staff will wear face coverings while they are at school.

Our highest priority is to support student learning through student/teacher connections. With this in mind, the A/B schedule was chosen so that students would have frequent opportunities to interact with their teacher and classmates, and would not have long periods of time at home before they have a chance to connect in person with their teacher.

Families of secondary students will be contacted soon with information about which group your students have been assigned to, along with a color-coded school calendar showing maroon and gold days. Based on our survey results from earlier this summer, we know it’s important for families to have consistent schedules, so we will ensure that every student within the same household is assigned to the same group. 

We recognize that, due to health or safety concerns, some students will not be able to return under this model. If this applies to you, please fill out this form and your building principal or a staff member will be in touch with you to discuss a distance learning option.

Because the hybrid learning scenario for secondary students is new and unfamiliar, we recognize that there will be many questions and uncertainties. We will continue to send updates with additional details during the next few weeks, and we also will be maintaining a Frequently Asked Questions section of our COVID-19 website with more detailed information.

Please be aware that as the COVID-19 situation changes within our community and state, we may need to switch to a different learning scenario at some point during this school year.  If there is a change, we will communicate with families, allowing as much advance notice as is possible. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unusual set of challenges for our students, families and staff, we are thrilled to be able to have your students back with us. We can’t wait to get started learning and connecting this fall.