RED WING -- The School Board will consider adopting a 2020-2021 education plan Monday that includes in-person learning when possible during the pandemic.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. July 20 online to vote on the administration’s recommended plan.

A priority is to provide in-person learning to students in grades K-4 when allowed by the state, according to Superintendent Karsten Anderson.

“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for all students and staff members while actually strengthening our educational programming during these challenging times,” Anderson said.

Gov. Tim Walz directed schools to prepare for three scenarios — in-person learning, distance learning and hybrid learning consisting of both in-person and distance learning. The Department of Education and Department of Health are expected to provide some specific guidelines later this month, and Walz could take definitive steps if necessary under his emergency powers.

Anderson acknowledged that local schools likely will shift between scenarios multiple times throughout the year as COVID-19 affects the community.

Thursday evening, the district also released the results of a parent survey taken last month. Of the 818 parents who responded -- representing half the student body -- about 50% were most comfortable with instruction, 35% most comfortable with hybrid and 14% with distance learning.

The proposed plan would:

  • Offer distance learning to any student who chooses to learn from home. This is required by law.
  • Keep Jefferson School and convert it, Sunnyside and Burnside elementary schools and Twin Bluff Middle School into K-6 schools. Keeping families together in neighborhood schools should help lower the exposure risk.
  • Convert Red Wing High School to a 7-12 school, and change the schedule to a traditional block, which means each student would take the same four block classes each day for a quarter. Under the hybrid and distance scenarios, students would take the same classes from the same teachers — only the location of the student would change. Again, this should help to reduce mass student contact and reduce exposure.
  • Put grades 5-12 during hybrid learning on the following schedule: Cohort A (half of students) in-person learning Monday and Tuesday with distance learning Thursday and Friday; Cohort B (other half) in-person Thursday and Friday with distance learning Monday and Tuesday. All would have distance learning on Wednesday to allow for deep cleaning of the RWHS.
  • Extend “no-bus zones” or walking zones to two miles for all students to reduce bus ridership and minimize interactions. First Student earlier this summer learned that only 13 students instead of 70 may ride a bus per trip during the pandemic.
  • Provide a Chromebook to all students in grades K-12, including new touchpad Chromebooks to students in grades K-5.

Additional operational changes are planned, including serving meals in classrooms, prohibiting students from using lockers, and moving teachers rather than students from class to class when possible, Anderson said.

Anyone interested in monitoring the virtual meeting should email lasteggerda@rwps.org at least two hours prior to the start. Anyone who wishes to speak during the comment period should email pjroe@rwps.org and klanderson@rwps.org.