MDE updates distance learning, summer programming guidance

MDE updates distance learning, summer programming guidance

The Minnesota Department of Education recently updated two documents — the Minnesota Distance Teaching and Learning Implementation Guidance and the Minnesota Summer Programming Guidance for Schools.

Here’s what new in the May 21 version of the Distance Teaching and Learning Implementation Guidance:

Home Visits (Page 7): A school district or charter school may allow school staff to visit a student’s home to build and preserve relationships with the student and their families. Under no circumstances should school staff enter the student’s home or place of residence. The visit may occur outside of the student’s home or at another suitable outdoor location, such as a park or taking a walk. Limit visits to no longer than 45 minutes. Students, staff, and families shall follow MDH and CDC Public Health Guidelines, including social distancing at least six feet of separation at all times. All students, families, and staff should wear appropriate face masks at all times. If school staff are handing off instructional materials or other items, staff should follow the same procedure used in school to hand off materials or receive materials from the student and family. Nothing in this guidance should be construed to encourage or require school staff, students, or families in at-risk categories to act inconsistently with public health recommendations or the advice of their doctors.

Limited Public Library In-Person Services (Page 20): While the decision to open to limited public service is a local one, libraries that are exploring doing so should be mindful of guidelines expressed in Executive Order 20-56 with respect to social distancing, use of masks, building occupancy, size of gatherings, hand washing and the regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces. While there 20 are no CDC or MDH guidelines on quarantine of library materials, MDE recommends that libraries set aside returned materials for a period not less than three days and not to exceed seven days, prior to returning to circulation. A decision to request that those entering the library comply with mask guidelines should be made in consultation with the library board and city or county government. Using scheduled appointments may be one way to limit foot traffic. The board and city or county government should also be consulted for decision-making related to practices for limiting entrance to the building.

Disciplinary Incident Reporting (Page 20): Disciplinary and behavioral incidents are expected to decrease during the distance learning period, though reportable incidents can still occur in both distance learning and on-site care settings. Reportable incidents occurring during the distance learning period must be reported in DIRS following normal reporting procedures. Detailed reporting requirements and definitions are provided in the Disciplinary Incident Reporting System (DIRS) User Guide.

Incidents in School-age Care Settings (Page 20): If an on-site care program is considered an emergency child care program operating under an exclusion, and the school district is operating that program, then the school district’s student code of conduct/student disciplinary policy discipline policy would be applicable for school age students (Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.41). School districts and charter schools must continue to implement behavioral supports and strategies for students receiving special education services as outlined in the student’s IEP or positive behavioral support plan. Students receiving on-site care may be attending alternate locations, or a facility other than their normal school of enrollment, as indicated in MARSS. Due to DIRS functionality, incidents occurring at alternate locations must be reported at the school of enrollment in the student’s MARSS record. The alternate location for these incidents must be submitted on the 2019-20 DIRS COVID-19 Reporting: Incidents Occurring at Alternate Locations form at the end of the school year. School districts and charter schools should only use this form to submit the location for incidents that did not occur at the student’s normally enrolled school and should submit only one form per school district or charter school.

* Related COVID-19 Guidance (Page 21)

· Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) Distance Learning Reporting Instructions – instructions to report enrollment and attendance during the distance learning period.

· Special Education and COVID-19 Questions and Answers: Due Process – requirements and supports for special education students, including behavior responses for students receiving on-site care in the school setting.

· Supporting Students and Families COVID-19 Resources – provides guidance for engagement with students and families, maintaining a positive school climate, supporting students’ mental health and emotional well-being, and adapting MTSS frameworks for distance learning.

· U.S. ED Office for Civil Rights Fact Sheet: Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students – requires schools to continue to investigate reports of bullying and harassment of students and to take action to end bullying or harassment.

Here’s what’s new in the Minnesota Summer Programming Guide for Schools:

Under Summer Learning Overview (Page 5): If a district or charter school chooses a hybrid approach, they must offer in-person summer programming to all students who qualify for those services (e.g. targeted services), as well as students receiving extended school year services (ESY), while maintaining social distancing. Multi-lingual learners and students receiving ESY services should receive additional opportunities for face-to-face instruction, in accordance with MDH guidance. A district may not offer a hybrid program to some students while requiring others to do full-time distance learning, unless it is not possible to provide the face to face hybrid services in accordance with MDH social distancing guidelines. Nothing in this guidance should be construed to encourage or require school staff, students, or families in at-risk categories to act inconsistently with public health recommendations or the advice of their doctors. Any family may choose to opt their student out of in-person programming.

Under Nutrition/Summer Food Program (Page 12): The USDA has extended the non-congregate waiver until August 31, 2020.

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