Return to Distance Learning
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 5:35 AM

Dear Lake Harriet Families, 
Thank you for your messages and calls this week as you weigh whether to remain in Distance Learning or opt into in-person learning in February. We are committed to providing as much information as we can to you to help you make your decision. This lengthy document addresses some of the questions you’ve raised. Please know the information provided in this document is subject to change as we prepare for in-person learning. We will be creating an in-person learning website to share specific safety details and new building procedures as we meet and work with our Site Emergency Team.  
Information about staffing availability and the number of students who are returning to in-person learning  is becoming available this week. We will finalize class rosters and schedules for DL and in-person learning this week and communicate that information to you as soon as possible. It's possible your child will be assigned to another Lake Harriet teacher in Distance Learning or in-person learning depending on our numbers. We will do everything we can to keep cohorts intact, but flexibility will be critical to this transition. All Lake Harriet teachers are dedicated to building and maintaining strong relationships with our students to ease any anxiety related to the adjustment. Our students’ health and well-being drive our decision making. 
Distance Learning 
For families who choose to remain in Distance Learning, the schedule will remain the same with the combination of live and recorded activities Monday-Thursday. Fridays will continue as a flexible learning day. As mentioned, your child's teacher may change, depending on the number of students who opt into in-person and remain in Distance Learning. The school day will begin at 9:30 and end at 3:30 (4:00 for middle school), as usual. Classroom teachers and specialists will share any changes to the daily schedule. 
In-Person Learning 
The school day will begin at 9:35/9:40 and end at 4:05/4:10, M-F. There isn't a Flexible Day built into the in-person schedule, and students will attend 5 days a week.  
All health and safety protocols that are put into place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread have been developed by the District and implemented by each school site. All regulations and recommendations are being adapted to Lake Harriet with the assistance of the Site Emergency Team, composed of our principals, School Nurse, Minneapolis Kids and representatives of the teaching and engineer staff. 
More detailed information about our safety protocols will be shared as we launch a LHCS K-5 In-Person Learning Site next week. 
Changing one’s mind 
District officials have communicated that you may change your mind about DL and in-person learning at any time. If you would like to make a change to your child’s learning after the Jan. 22 request date, please contact one of the main offices at 612-668-3210/3310. There are a number of factors that need to be in place before students can return to the building. Classroom teachers will need some time to prepare for the change in rosters, breakfasts and lunch counts will need to be adjusted, and bus routes can take up to 2 weeks to update. 
Arrival and Departure protocols 
We are working to create safe arrival and dismissal procedures that ensure all students and adults maintain safe social distancing. Family members will not be able to enter the building, and we will create a new pick-up procedure for students. We will share new procedures as soon as created.  
Lunch and Recess 
Following safety guidelines, most students could be seated in the lunchroom at one time with the possibility of also using nearby classroom spaces. Final decisions are based on our actual number of students who return to the building. If we decide that students should eat in their classrooms, students will be assigned spots 3 feet from each other when eating.  
All students will have 30 minutes of recess every day. Playground equipment and toys will be sanitized regularly, and we will ask students wear gloves when using playground equipment on days 32 degrees or below.  
Social Distancing 
Staff will be 6 feet apart from other staff and students whenever possible. Students are recommended to be 3 feet apart from other students; we know that this will be challenging to enforce at times. Physical contact between staff and students isn't recommended. Everyone will wear masks and staff have been encouraged to wear face shields. We'll do all that we can to help students feel comfortable, welcomed, and secure in learning spaces at school. Our classrooms have been set up to maintain 3 feet of space between students, but please note that 3 feet is recommended, not required. In some circumstances, students with particular learning needs may require physical support. Our special education staff have been provided with additional PPE for those circumstances.
Movement throughout the building 
Students will spend most of the learning day in their classrooms. As previously mentioned, they'll go outside for 30 minutes for recess, walk to and from the lunchroom to collect their lunches (or, if numbers permit, eat in the lunchroom), and, in some cases, walk to specialist class. We're still waiting for additional guidelines from the District about best practices for specialist classes. Physical education will occur in the gym or outside. 
We will adhere to all Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans. Our special education team will follow social distancing protocols as they provide services in homeroom classrooms and special education classrooms. 
English Language services will be provided, adhering to social distancing protocols. 
On buses, seating will be arranged to maintain 6-feet of distance between the driver and all riders. The number of students on a bus will be continually monitored to create as much space as possible between riders. Seating will be assigned and documented to help with COVID contact tracing and daily ridership will be logged. Everyone on a bus (or other transportation vehicle) will be required to wear a face covering during the entire ride. Vehicles will be disinfected regularly with special attention to high-contact surfaces. Buses will unload one at a time to reduce the number of students entering the building at a time. This will take more time than it does in typical times, but it mitigates risk. 
Health and Wellness 
Both buildings have a designated room as our student illness room. We're calling it The Dragon Room. The HVAC in the room has been adjusted so that air from that room does not circulate into the rest of the building. Students who exhibit illness symptoms while at school will be required to isolate in the Dragon Room with staff supervision until a family member is able to bring them home. If the family doesn't have access to transportation, the District will try to provide transportation if vehicles are available for student transport. We will make quarantining decisions (including contact tracing) in partnership with the District, following city and state health guidelines, based on exposure risk. 
School Supplies and Materials 
Students will have access to books, school supplies, District-owned devices, and other learning materials. Their supplies will have to be bagged, labeled with their names, and stored in desks, lockers, or other spots in the room that permit socially-distanced access. iPads and Chromebooks will need to return to the classrooms with the students.
 Air Filtration 
All MPS air filters have been changed to the highest filtration rate possible, but with 26,000- filter heads in varied buildings and classrooms, it is impossible to share an air refresh rate for the entire district. Where possible, air filters were upgraded to the highest level possible (MERV 11 - 14 filters). HEPA filtration units were placed in classrooms where the ventilation systems cannot support MERV filters. To bring in fresh, outside air ventilation systems will run for two hours before school s and will stay on for two hours after school is closed. MPS is confident that increased filtration along with the effective use of other mitigation practices such as wearing face coverings, meets the recommended health and safety protocols for in-person learning. 
Minneapolis Kids 
Minneapolis Kids will resume providing fee based before- and after-school childcare for children attending in-person learning in grades K-5th starting February 22nd. Re registration is required for all families needing before- or after-school care in the new, in person model. Registration will be accepted based on staff availability & accordance to MN Departments of Education and Health guidelines. Re-Registration will begin February 1st. Please contact them at for details and registration. 
Many questions and answers can be found on the district webpage:  
We appreciate all that you’re doing to make a thoughtful decision about which model of learning will be best for your child and family. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions as the weeks progress. We’ll share updates with you on a consistent basis as we approach February. 
We are thinking of you all with compassion and gratitude for your partnership. We are advocating fiercely for the vaccine to be made available to educators as soon as possible. Our staff and students are the roots of our community. We will continue to work toward providing rigorous and engaging instruction whether in person or online.
Go Dragons!
Angie Ness, Principal Lower Campus
Walter Schleisman, Principal Upper Campus