Looking ahead: District studying in-person learning for grades 2-6; no decision

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Eden Prairie Schools started this school year with grades K-2 in person, grades 2-12 in a hybrid model and EP Online for a full-time online option. Teachers have been able to maintain outstanding learning experiences across all of these learning models. 

Based on current COVID-19 case data for Hennepin County and the city of Eden Prairie, it is possible under Gov. Walz’s Safe Learning Plan for all elementary students to be learning in person. Case rates in Eden Prairie and Hennepin County have been under 20 per 10,000 residents since the school year started. According to the state’s plan, 10 to 19 cases per 10,000 residents is the measurement needed to consider in-person learning for elementary students. On-going monitoring of these data is important because any learning model must be in place for the long term. It is disruptive to abruptly change to and from different models.

Eden Prairie Schools leaders are starting to look at details around returning to in-person learning at elementary schools. No decision has been made to change to this model. The first steps are to engage stakeholders including teachers, staff and families. Before any transition, families would have two weeks advance notice. This planning is around elementary students, it would not affect EP Online, CMS or EPHS.

In order to ensure success, there are many details which school leaders, teachers and other staff must review. Some of those items include the following:

  • Redesigning classrooms to maximize social distance (state guidelines for the in-person model do not require six feet of distance);
  • Developing procedures for “learning pods” -- small groups of students who can be kept together in order to minimize contact with other students;
  • Transporting students, including new bus routes and school procedures for greater numbers of student drop-off and pick-up;
  • Providing more breakfasts and lunches in school, and maximizing social distance during meal times;
  • Ensuring child care continues at school sites;
  • Updating contact tracing and quarantine practices; 
  • Consulting with Minnesota’s departments of health and education; and
  • Communicating plans and procedures to staff, families and students.

To summarize, no decision has been made, but all of this planning is starting. Behind this work is Eden Prairie Schools’ ever-present commitment to inspire each student every day. Continue to watch the Parent Post, our website, and your email for updates.