2020-2021 School Year Update

August 4th, 2020
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Students and Families of NCA,

Today Governor Walz and Commissioner Ricker announced that the extent to which public schools open would be a district decision but would be based on two key elements:

1) COVID-19 case rates by county
2) The districts ability to follow health guidelines based on enrollment and the size of the school building
I have attached the document I received from MDE which shows the most recent COVID-19 case rates by county. This document also gives you the recommended approaches for different grade levels based on these case rates. I will be discussing this document and others with the school board and a decision will be made soon as to our opening approach. My preliminary assessment leads me to believe and hope that New Century Academy will open in full on August 24. Of course, case rates could change between now and then. It will take an extreme amount of patience, flexibility and understanding as we work through this school year and these recommendations. We have work to do before then to prepare our building as well as procedures to put in place that will keep our staff and students as safe as possible. We will work with students and families from all of the counties we serve and create scenarios for learning for those students that keep everyone as safe as possible.
There are a few things we know we will need to do. Face masks will be required by all staff, students and anyone entering the building. Social distancing will be practiced to the best of our ability in the entire building. Temperature readings will need to be taken before entering the school building and during the school day. I have discussed with the transportation company their ability to complete this task before students even enter the transport vehicles. We will need to create a quarantine room, other than the nurses office, where students/staff can go if they fall ill or develop a temperature. We will need to modify our schedule and potentially our start and end times in order to create a safe routine and environment for all.
The direction we have been given helps clarify that at any point in the school year, we may move between learning models (in-person, hybrid, distance) depending on the case rates and enrollment. I am confident that as a staff we will work tirelessly to provide the most equitable and safe learning environment possible. With your help and the dedication of our staff, we can show our communities that we can make an impact, even in the midst of difficult and uncertain circumstances. As we plan, make decision and get ready for you all to return on August 24, I will do my best to email updates that are concise and relevant. I would ask that you all continue to be patient as we work through the school year. We are all excited to get back to school and look forward to seeing all of your masked faces! Thank you all for taking the time to read this email. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Jason Becker, Director

New Century Academy

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