12-17-2020 Message to Staff and Families

Dear Staff and Parents:

This communication is meant to provide you with information about:

  1. The Governor’s recent announcement and new Executive Order 20-103
  2. K-4 instructional model change
  3. Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year

Yesterday Governor Walz announced a plan to prioritize in-person instruction for elementary students via a phased in approach beginning January 18, 2021. Below are some highlights of the Governor’s announcement and the new Executive Order 20-103

  • All staff who are teaching in-person, whether as part of an in-person or hybrid learning model, must wear both a face covering and face shield when interacting with students.
  • Staff will be provided an opportunity to take a COVID-19 test every other week, which will be facilitated by a Minnesota Service Cooperative.
  • Social distancing requirements (i.e. 6 feet) will no longer apply to students in grades PK-4. 
  • There can be no more than three grade bands (i.e. grades 1, 2, 3 ) in an elementary school when beginning to phase back into a face-to-face model.
  • Elementary staff must be provided at least two planning days before transitioning to an in-person learning model.
  • Elementary schools only: All student meal times and specialist lessons must be held in the classroom or outside (weather permitting). Physical education classes may continue to be held indoors, outside of individual classrooms, so long as students and staff are wearing face coverings.

Please read below for information regarding how the Governor’s Executive Order may affect your child.

Students in Grades PK-4

  • January 4, 2021: Hybrid Learning model resumes after winter break for students at Albertville Primary, Fieldstone Elementary, and St. Michael Elementary. Students at Big Woods Elementary move to a hybrid learning model.
  • January 14 and 15, 2021: Per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-103, January 14 and 15 are planning days for PK-4 staff, which means no school for students in grades PK-4.
  • January 18, 2021: Previously scheduled professional development day. No school for all students PK-12.
  • January 19, 2021: Students in grades K-3 will be in-person and attend school five days per week. Students in grade 4 will transition to a distance learning model through January 29 (per EO 20-103).
  • February 1, 2021: Students in grade 4 will be in-person and attend school five days per week.
  • Students who are in distance learning by choice are not impacted by this announcement.

Please note the above information may change as we are strongly advocating that our grade four students do not have to shift to a distance learning model.

Bright Beginnings Preschool

This update does not impact Bright Beginnings preschool students. Preschool students will continue with their current schedule. 

Students in Grades 5-12

Students at Middle School East, Middle School West, and the High School

Students in grades 5-12 who attend Middle School East, Middle School West, and the high school will continue in a full distance learning model for now. Future instructional model decisions will be based on the state’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. Likewise, we will continue to collaborate with representatives from MN Department of Health (MDH), MN Department of Education (MDE), Wright County Public Health, and our Regional Support Team.

Please remember to report positive COVID-19 for your child by calling your child’s building attendance line to report a positive test. This data is critical for our consideration in bringing our secondary students back to a hybrid or in-person learning model.

Students at Knights’ Academy

Students who attend Knights Academy will continue in the hybrid learning model.

Special Education

Students receiving special education services will continue to follow programming outlined in their Contingency Learning Plans according to the learning model at their grade level.


Activities for Students in Grades 7-12

The Minnesota State High School League has issued a press release relating to the return of high school winter sports, which can be found here. Parents of students in grades 9-12, see the email from High School Activities Director Keith Cornell that was sent on December 16, 2020. Parents of students in grades 7-8, watch for an email from Middle School Dean of Students Ryan Antony (MW) or Molly Schleicher (ME) that will be sent on December 18, 2020.

Advocacy and Local Control

Please note that we are reviewing the Governor’s Executive Order and MDE guidance to determine what it means for STMA students and staff. We are strongly advocating for our students and staff regarding a couple of mandates that do not make sense for STMA. Please join us in advocating for our students as a “one size fits all” approach is not best for STMA students. I urge you to contact MN officials below to advocate for STMA students. Your voice matters.  

We know you may have questions but please allow us time to advocate for our students, review the mandates, and plan for changes. We will update you soon.

Thank you for your patience, grace, and flexibility as we navigate this new situation.


Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault

STMA Superintendent