Spring Lake Park Schools is required by federal law to publish a Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan as we continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on our community. As we begin the 2022-2023 school year, COVID-19 transmission is low in Anoka County, vaccinations are widely available for all ages and current virus variants appear to result in less severe illness for most individuals. The context is, thankfully, quite different than the past two school years.
Our schools continue to be grateful for federal COVID-relief funding that is supporting our efforts to address the greatest student needs coming from the pandemic. As long as we continue to accept and invest those federal dollars in meeting student needs, we are required to update and publish a Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan. This plan explains our efforts to maintain continuity in instruction and school services in alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We review the plan every six months, or if/when guidance changes. We welcome input and feedback at email@example.com. If modifications to this plan are needed, changes will be communicated through email and/or voicemail to families and staff. See this plan in a printable format.
For the 2022-2023 school year, Spring Lake Park Schools welcome students to school in-person, five days each week following our traditional school calendar. We also offer families a full-time distance learning option, SLP Schools Online, which is approved by the Minnesota Department of Education and open to any student in Minnesota at no cost.
As the year progresses, there may be increases in positive COVID-19 rates in classrooms and schools. Currently, we are directed to follow guidance from Minnesota Department of Health for other communicable illness, such as flu, in responding to increased illness in a particular setting. We do not anticipate districtwide disruptions to learning.
Two significant priorities for our entire community – parents, educators, greater community members – are addressing pandemic impacts to academic progress and mental health. After the interruptions to in-person school over the past two years and the wide-spread impacts of the pandemic on daily life, each of our schools continues to implement robust supports to meet the varied needs of students for the 2022-2023 school year.
Academic supports, beyond what we’ve previously provided, continue to be in place this year for students who need to recoup missed learning. At the elementary level, we continue to be creative and flexible with our people, materials, and time in order to help students regain any loss and continue their growth. At Westwood Intermediate and Middle School, the Accelerate Innovate Motivate (AIM) teams continue this year to support identified students who need extra support to regain learning. At the high school, Alternative Learning Teams and grade 9/10 teams provide strong support for current student needs.
Student mental health is a focus as we continue to respond to pandemic impacts. We continue to have a full continuum of supports in each of our schools. School counselors, social workers, school psychologists, behavior specialists and others help identify student needs and respond appropriately. We continue to offer in-school mental health services provided by Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health & Well-Being. We have also added additional therapists through David Hoy and Associates to increase student access to school-based mental health services.
We recognize that the pandemic interrupted – for many students at all levels – the natural development of social, emotional, and behavior skills. We have reviewed all of our practices related to the development of these important skills. We have refined the resources that help teachers support student development and implement practices that create a welcoming and productive learning environment for all.
Families are encouraged to reach out to their child’s school with any questions or to connect with the supports that are available.
Minnesota Department of Health aligns to guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we continue to follow their best practice recommendations for communicable diseases. These include staying home when sick, washing hands and maintaining proper respiratory etiquette. This guidance has evolved significantly over time. We will continue to monitor the guidance and update our practices in response to the current context.
Testing: School nurses will provide students with at-home COVID-19 antigen tests if requested. In-school rapid testing is no longer available.
Positive cases: If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must report their illness to the school nurse. Families are asked to follow the department of health’s return-to-school timelines and procedures as well as their physician’s recommendations.
Face masks, etc.: Other mitigation strategies – such as using a face mask and maintaining specific physical distance – are optional, not required, in alignment with CDC guidelines. Families are asked to follow CDC recommendations as it relates to returning to school post-illness.
Vaccination: COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available for all ages. While schools do not administer vaccines, school nurses can help connect students and families to vaccine resources including onsite vaccination opportunities offered with community partners.
The best source of information, for schools and families, continues to be the COVID-19 resources on the Minnesota Department of Health website. You may also contact your student’s school nurse if support is needed for your student or family.
Our facilities team continues to use products and cleaning practices adopted during the height of the pandemic. Clean school buildings help prevent the spread of a variety of communicable diseases. Other school services, such as school meals and transportation are continuing in 2022-2023 as they did pre-pandemic.
Spring Lake Park Schools uses email, voicemail and text messages to communicate with families. We encourage families to ensure their contact information is up-to-date to receive the latest information. Any changes to district plans will be proactively communicated through our official communication channels.
The Spring Lake Park Schools website and mobile app provide comprehensive information about the school experience. In addition, regular communications are sent from the district and individual schools to keep families informed. Weekly school newsletters will include any changes to our practices. The website and email can be translated to a variety of languages.