Fall 2021 Reopening Plan:
Fall In-School Learning for All Students

Little Falls Community Schools 2021-2022 School Year – Updated September 24, 2021

2021 COVID Protocols

School districts in the state of Minnesota have been provided “local control” in creating and implementing learning plans for students and families for the 2021-2022 school year. This is a significant change from the directives and mandates that legislated many of the COVID-related protocols and responses enacted by school districts across Minnesota. The district is beginning the 2021-2022 school year with full In-Person Learning for students, and is not offering either Hybrid or Distance Learning as options. If the district would need to temporarily cease In-Person Learning because of COVID case rates, the district would move to full Distance Learning for students for a designated period of time.

The In-Person Learning plan for the 2021-2022 school year at Little Falls Community Schools is detailed below.

You can also download a PDF copy of the plan.

Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure

  • Focus on 6-feet of separation where possible
    • Social distancing of at least three feet indoors to the extent possible
    • Signage throughout the buildings to encourage social distancing
    • Classroom seating will be spread out as specific learning spaces allow
  • Large indoor group spaces will be utilized whenever possible
  • Emphasis on outdoor classroom activities and learning
  • Directional hallways for students where applicable
  • Minimizing and monitoring nonessential visitors, volunteers, and external groups in the buildings
  • Plexiglass barriers for group student learning areas are available for use
  • Plexiglass barriers for office and classroom areas are available for use

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings in school facilities are encouraged but are not mandatory
    • Face covering includes
      • Paper or disposable mask
      • Cloth face mask
      • Appropriate face shield
      • Scarf
      • Neck gaiter
      • Bandana
      • Religious face covering
      • Medical-grade masks and respirators
  • Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth
  • Students and adults may wear their own mask
    • District will provide disposable masks, cloth face masks, or face shields to students and adults who desire them
  • Local, regional, statewide, and national COVID-related data may necessitate a change in the face covering protocol

Monitoring for Illness

  • Each student and adult will be temperature checked upon entry to school every day
    • The district has purchased 15 Infrared Thermal Camera Imaging units which will temperature screen all
      who enter our facilities
    • Eleven of these units are capable of temperature checks of sizable groups of students
    • Four of these units are meant to temperature check one person at a time
  • Students should not be sent to school if they are showing signs of fever or illness
  • Students and staff should remain at home when feeling ill with any symptoms that could be COVID-related
  • Students and staff will immediately be sent home if they are experiencing COVID-related symptoms
  • Any student waiting for a COVID-19 test result MUST NOT attend school
    • The school nurse’s office should be contacted
  • Require students and staff to isolate if testing positive until symptoms subside, have quarantined for at least ten
    days, and they have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without medication
  • Positive case contact tracing, looking back two days for those within six feet of the affected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. (Fully vaccinated people or those who have had COVID within the previous 90 days are not recommended to quarantine after close contact)

Protecting Vulnerable Populations

  • The CDC considers the following people to be at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19
    • Older adults
    • Children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease
    • Have underlying medical conditions including:
      • Chronic lung disease (COPD)
      • Serious heart conditions
      • Compromised immune system
      • Diabetes
      • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
      • Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher for adults or a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile in children)
      • Sickle cell disease
  • Evaluate all current plans for accommodating students with special health care needs and update as needed to decrease their risk for exposure to COVID-19

Cleaning and Materials Handling

  • Daily cleaning and frequent cleaning of high touch areas throughout the day
  • Minimize the use of shared materials
    • Students should have their own personal school supplies
      • Contact school offices for questions or concerns
  • Maximize electronic assignments

Water and Ventilation Systems

  • Although drinking fountains will be cleaned and sanitized regularly, students and staff are encouraged to bring their own personal water bottle to school

  • The district air ventilation systems in our buildings have all been updated within the past five years to bring in fresh air to the buildings at or above the State required 15 CFM (cubic feet per minute) per person

Supporting Mental Health and Well-Being

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a tremendous amount of stress, fear, and anxiety
  • School can play an important role in helping students and staff cope, access needed resources, and build resilience
    • Provide students, staff, and families with information on how to access resources for mental health and wellness

Internet and Device Access

  • All K-12 students will be issued district-owned iPads for 1:1 technology
  • The district will work with families who experience connectivity issues
    • The district will provide free hotspots to families struggling with connectivity
    • Contact Technology Help Desk @ (320) 632-2020

Food Service

  • Traditional breakfast in the Commons at the Middle School and High School is in operation
  • Second Chance Breakfast at the Middle School and High School will occur after 1st Period
    • Students will eat in their Advisory classroom
  • Elementary students will eat breakfast in the classroom
  • Lunch will be served in Commons areas and Cafeterias

Transportation

  • Face coverings are mandatory on school buses
  • Parents are urged to consider transporting children to and from school when appropriate
  • All vehicles will be cleaned and sanitized with frequency

Communication

  • Frequent and consistent communication to students, families, staff, and communities
    • Social media
    • Radio and print
    • Direct phone call and email (Skylert)
    • Webpage
    • Information sent with students

Student and Family Engagement

  • The district will continue to seek input from students and families as the school year transpires.
  • Please contact your school or administration with questions or concerns

Public Comments

Little Falls Community Schools values your input. Please email your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and questions about the “Safe return to In-Person Learning Plan” to sjones@lfalls.k12.mn.us

Summary of Public Comments

  • Results were overwhelmingly driven towards a fulltime return to In-Person learning.
  • The Hybrid and Distance Learning models were emphatically not the direction our families wanted to go in the future.
  • There is a serious concern among stakeholders about lost educational opportunities because of the pandemic.
  • Transportation, especially for any remediation or enrichment activities, had to be provided by the district to maximize student participation.
  • Child care, both before school and after school, is a huge concern for families especially as parents consider a return to on-site employment.
  • We learned that nearly 20% of our families do not have reliable Internet connectivity—either because of finances or location of the home impacting accessibility.
  • Food insecurity is a matter of grave concern to a significant portion of our population…and this was reiterated over the past two summers when the district provided home-delivered or pickup meals in June, July, and August. Participation numbers usually ran about 20-25% of student population, mainly elementary students.