Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Family Update for April 3, 2020

Dear School District 197 Families,


We wanted to connect with you as we head into the weekend. There are a number of changes starting Monday and we want to make sure you are informed.

The big thing, of course, is that distance learning is starting on Monday. We are so happy to reconnect with our students and families. Each of you received communication via email, phone, and/or text yesterday with information about resources for distance learning. If you did not receive the communication, please call 651-403-7043 and leave your name, your child’s name, your child’s school, and your phone number.

Districts who weren’t on spring break started distance learning this week and it gave us a little glimpse into what we might see as we launch. The biggest thing is that some online learning websites went down for a period of time. We are guessing this was because a lot of people started using them. The different companies worked to get ramped up and fix the issues last week, but it is still possible we will see some of that next week. So, if that happens, we will use our district and school websites to communicate. We will be flexible with our student expectations. We ask that you team with us and be flexible too, knowing that we are all doing our best to respond as quickly as possible to any glitches that occur.  

There are also some changes to our childcare. We are communicating these changes directly to registered families but wanted everyone to know. Beginning Monday, we are combining some childcare locations. We are doing this to avoid locations that have more people and activity onsite due to construction.  We will still have the same capacity to provide care. The combined locations will be at Garlough Environmental Sciences Magnet, Pilot Knob STEM Magnet, and Somerset Elementary for younger students and Friendly Hills Middle School for middle school students. Again, we are letting everyone enrolled know about these changes and where they are assigned.

The last change I wanted to discuss is our food distribution locations. First, at all sites, we are changing the distribution time a little. Instead of 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., it will be 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and you can still pick up breakfast and lunch at the same time. Second, we will not be distributing food at Henry Sibley. All other sites will stay open. Like childcare, it’s due to construction. Just so you know, both the 8:30 to 9 a.m. timeslot and the Henry Sibley location were less frequently used. We spent the latter part of this week connecting with individual families who picked up between 8:30 or 9 a.m. and anytime at Henry Sibley to make sure they could continue to access food. 

To anyone who is having problems getting to one of the food distribution sites, please call and leave a message at 651-403-7043 and we will work with you.

Okay, those are the updates for now. And because I can’t say it enough. Thank you. Thank you at home for supporting your students through this new way of learning. Thank you for our staff who are working so hard to keep learning, food, childcare, and more happening for the community’s children. I know this is a little or a lot weird and even scary at times. Things just aren’t normal. They aren’t what we all hoped the spring of 2020 would be.  However, there are silver linings. We are learning all sorts of technology. We are finding new ways to tell each other just how much we mean to each other.

We are finding out just how strong we are together as a community.

We are Warriors!

Peter Olson-Skog

Superintendent ----

Family Update for March 25, 2020 Dear School District 197 Families,


As part of the state’s effort to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus, Governor Tim Walz announced a “stay at home” order for Minnesotans that started Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. through April 10. To read what this means for you and your family, please click here. With regard to our schools, the governor’s announcement means the following: • Distance Learning: School District 197 students and staff will start distance learning on April 6 and will go through at least April 30. Please see below for more information about distance learning. • Food Distribution: The school district will continue distributing breakfast and lunch between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at 10 sites. For more information, read below. • Childcare: The school district will continue providing childcare for the children of healthcare and emergency workers. Please note there will be changes to childcare just for March 27-April 3 while the district is on spring break. • Transportation: Based on student need, the Transportation Department adjusted its pickup and dropoff points. This service will continue through spring break and into April. For more information, please read below.


Distance Learning

School District 197 students and staff will start distance learning on April 6 and will go through at least April 30. The school district distributed information for elementary, middle school, and high school families (click here). Learning material distribution as outlined in the information you received via email will continue this week. Information about distance learning is also posted on the district website at www.isd197.org.  If you have ANY questions about this information or the district’s planning around COVID-19, please click here to fill out a form or call 651-403-7043


Food Distribution

The school district will continue distributing breakfast and lunch between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at 10 sites. In addition to the five elementary schools, two middle schools, the high school, and Community of Saints, the district announced the addition of the School District 197 Early Learning Center (1970 Christensen Ave. in West St. Paul) as a food distribution site. Food distribution will continue at all sites through spring break (March 27-April 3) and beyond.


Childcare

The school district will continue providing childcare for the children of healthcare and emergency workers. With the exception of March 27-April 3, childcare will continue at all elementary schools and middle schools. Please note there will be changes to childcare just for March 27-April 3 while the district is on spring break. During that time, childcare for healthcare and emergency workers will be provided at Garlough Environmental Magnet School (1740 Charlton St. in West St. Paul). If you are a healthcare or emergency worker and need care for your child, you must pre-register your child by clicking here.


Transportation

Starting March 23, the district implemented specific routes with stops assigned for registered riders. Each student who is registered into the School District 197 childcare program during the school closure will be contacted with their bus information. Transportation is not provided for care outside of regular school hours. If you have any questions, please contact the Transportation Department at 651-403-8320.


Internet Service

As School District 197 prepares for distance learning from April 6 through at least April 30, families who do not have access to the Internet can access the following resources: Wifi Hotspots or Comcast Internet Essentials. For more information about these options, please click here.

 

We know you are all processing a lot of information as you adjust to your time at home and with your children. Our staff members are working hard getting ready for April 6 and are looking forward to getting back to work with the students. In the meantime, if you have ANY questions about this information or the district’s planning around COVID-19, please click here to fill out a form or call 651-403-7043. We will answer all questions within 24 hours during the business week. Please stay safe and know that we are thinking of all of you!

 

Peter Olson-Skog

Superintendent

---- Family Update for March 18, 2020

Dear School District 197 Families,
 

Today’s communication will address the opportunity for free Internet as well as changes to our meal distribution process. All of these updates and additional resources are posted to our district website at www.isd197.org
 

Breakfast and Lunch

Tomorrow and Friday, the school district will continue distributing meals at the five elementary schools, two middle schools, the high school, and Community of Saints. Parents/guardians will be able to pick up breakfast AND lunch at the same time anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
 

Free Internet Access

If your family needs Internet access during the school closure, Comcast Xfinity is offering “WiFi Free for Everyone.” The instructions are attached to this message. Please call Comcast with any questions or support needs at 1-800-932-6489. 
 

Question Hotline

To ask a question about the district’s planning around the school closures, please click here or call 651-403-7043.
 

Peter Olson-Skog

Superintendent