Robbinsdale School District Opts for Distance Learning Model to Start Year
Robbinsdale Area Schools made a decision Monday night to go with a distance learning model to start the year for K-12 students. The model titled “Distance Learning PLUS” is meant to provide more robust instruction than the virtual learning districts implemented last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact Minnesota.
“This decision is not made lightly or in isolation,” said Stephanie Burrage, interim superintendent for Robbinsdale Area Schools, in a statement to families.
With Distance Learning PLUS, or personal learning with unified supports, learning will be done remotely. According to the district, learning will include direct teacher instruction and independent student work, with a combination of virtual meetings, interactive class sessions and pre-recorded videos.
“Last spring, school districts were engaged in crisis response distance learning. The Distance Learning PLUS model offers families greater intentionality and engagement,” said Burrage.
Hennepin County Case Rates Provide Guidance
Districts are, in part, basing their fall learning plans on 14-day average COVID-19 county case rates. For Robbinsdale Area Schools, the latest 14-day case rate in Hennepin County is 23.24 cases per 10,000 people. According to Minnesota Department of Health guidance, a case rate in the 20-29 range recommends a hybrid learning model for K-12 students. A hybrid model incorporates a combination of in-person school and distance learning. Districts, however, can opt for a more cautious approach. Families can also register for full-time distance learning if Robbinsdale eventually moves to hybrid or full in-person learning.
To get ready for the year, the district encourages families to make sure their district-issued Chromebooks and iPads are working properly. Repairs and tuneups begin this week.
Burrage also says the district will review two cycles of 14-day health data (Sept. 1-14 and Sept. 15-30) and consult with its designated health official to make a determination on a potential model shift in October. She says a possible shift in model could occur Oct. 19 with families being notified in early October.
“Please know, we want nothing more than to bring our students safely back to school in a face-to-face model,” said Burrage. “We are committed to doing so when it is safe, and will continue to receive input from stakeholders including families, staff and students, as well as consulting with the Minnesota Department of Health and county and local health officials.”