07-31-2020 Message to Families

Dear STMA Families:

Yesterday Governor Walz announced Executive Order 20-82, which requires school districts to work collaboratively with county and state health officials to identify a learning model based on county-level COVID-19 data.

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with important information for the upcoming school year including the specific topics listed below:

  • Executive Order 20-82 and how it will impact learning at STMA
  • Information on learning models
  • Face coverings
  • Required survey for all families (deadline August 16, 2020)
  • Important dates and timeline for when decisions will be made


While there have been many headlines and media reports that tout local control and district choice, the Executive Order states “School districts MUST adhere to the parameters set forth in Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year in implementing the three instructional models.” Essentially the Governor’s Safe Learning Plan dictates which learning model we implement. The three learning models are:

  1. In-person learning for all students
  2. Hybrid model with strict social distancing and capacity limits
  3. Distance learning

In making the learning model determination districts must use MN Department of Health (MDH) learning model selection parameters (see chart below) and county-level data. Districts will be advised of the bi-weekly case rate for their county, which is the number of cases in the county over 14 days per 10,000 people.

Learning Model Parameters

Number of cases per 10,000 over 14 days, by county of residence


Learning Model Recommended


In-person learning for all students


In-person learning for early childhood and elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students


Hybrid learning for all students


Hybrid learning for early childhood and elementary students; distance learning for secondary students


Distance learning for all students


Wright County 14-day Case Rate Per 10,000 People

5/31 - 6/13

6/7 - 6/20

6/14 - 6/27

6/21 - 7/4

6/28 - 7/11

7/5 - 7/18







For example, if school started next week, based on learning model selection parameters and county-level data, our base learning model would be in-person learning for students in grades preschool through four (scenario 1) and hybrid learning for students in grades 5-12 (scenario 2). The learning model we start the year with will be based on county-level data from August 2-15. This data will be released August 20. We will communicate the learning model for the start of the school year on August 21, 2020.

It is important to note that the learning model may change throughout the school year based on the circumstances of each individual school.


As noted in previous communications, our team has been diligently planning for the three scenarios the Governor gave us. All of our decisions continue to be made with the three guiding principles listed below. These are in sync with our number one core value of always putting students first.

Guiding Principles:

  1. Health and safety of students and staff
  2. What is best for the academic, social, emotional, and mental well being of students and staff
  3. Equity and the needs of all learners

It is also important to note all of our planning incorporates guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Wright County Public Health, and more. Likewise, it includes feedback from multiple student, staff, and family surveys.

Our framework for each learning model (AKA scenario) is below. Now that the Governor provided additional guidance, we will work collaboratively with staff to fill in the details. Watch for an email with specifics from your building principal on August 12.

  • Scenario 1: In-Person Learning*

o    “Regular” school but create as much space as possible between individuals.

  • Scenario 2: Hybrid Learning*

o    STMA Plan: See table below.

  • Scenario 3: Distance Learning

o    Distance learning but with improvements per student, staff, and family survey feedback.

*Distance learning is an option for students in scenarios one and two. 

Hybrid Model (Scenario 2)

Grades K-4

Grades 5-8

Grades 9-12

Bright Beginnings

Tentative Framework

●     All-students every day

●     Students divided into learning pods. Use all spaces (gym, cafeteria, lounge) in building to maintain 6’ b/t individuals

·         Students dismissed early each Wed. PK-K: 11:45 a.m./Gr. 1-4 12:00 p.m.

●     A/B Alternate Day* (students attend in-person 2 days per week and distance learning the other days)

●     Start at 9:00 a.m.

●     In-Person Group A: M/T Group B: TH/F

●     W: Distance Learning Management Time 

●     A/B Alternate Day* (students attend in-person 2 days per week and distance learning the other days)

●     Start at 9:30 a.m.

●     In-Person Group A: M/T Group B: TH/F

●     W: Distance Learning Management Time 

●     Offer to all who are registered

●     Students split into multiple classrooms. ●     No transportation

*Students in grades 5-12 will be assigned Group A or B based on last name.

Distance Learning Option

Families who do not feel comfortable having their child attend school in-person may choose to have their child participate in distance learning. The 2020-2021 STMA Distance Learning Model will be different than the model used last spring in many ways. For example, there will be daily interactions between students and teachers and grade level expectations will be the same as in-person school. Families are asked to make this decision by August 16, 2020. The decision commits your child to participating in distance learning until the end of trimester one on December 3.


Per Executive Order 20-81, all students, staff, and other people present in school buildings or riding on school transportation are required to wear a face covering. The State of Minnesota will provide every student and staff member with a cloth mask. Schools will also be supplied with disposable masks should a student forget to wear a mask to school. Students are encouraged to Bring Their Own Mask (BYOM). A medical exemption form will be available by mid-August for students who require an exemption.


To help us plan for the needs all students, families are asked to indicate their plans for the 2020-2021 school year via a brief survey. One survey submission per child is required. The deadline is August 16, 2020. We know this may be a tough decision with many unknowns and are grateful for your partnership so we can plan for the many complexities ahead of us.


  • August 12: Email from principal with detailed plans on each learning model
  • August 12: Survey sent to families (deadline August 16)
  • August 16: Deadline for family survey (required)
  • August 16: Deadline to commit to distance learning
  • August 21: Decision on fall learning model shared with families
  • September 8: First day of school

Finally, STMA will continue to provide you with additional information as it becomes available. The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available on the District’s website, which includes survey results, frequently asked questions, all current and past district-wide communications with families, helpful resources, and more.  

The past several months have been challenging for the entire STMA community. As we navigate the coming weeks and months together, we are grateful for your patience, grace, and trust. We remain deeply committed to our strong tradition of excellence and are ready to serve you and your child(ren) in the fall. Take care and be safe.


Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault

STMA Superintendent

2020 Back to School