Changes for Athletics & Students in Grades PK-5

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Dear RPS Students, Families and Staff,

Following the guidance from Governor Walz last week, we will remain in distance learning when we return from break, but we anticipate transitioning back into hybrid learning for students in grades PK-5 shortly after. We do not have an official start determined at this time, but it will be January 19 at the earliest and February 1 at the latest. In addition, we plan to resume athletic practices effective Monday, Jan. 4. All of this is contingent upon COVID-19 infection rates at or below current levels. We anticipate making an official announcement on January 4 at our school board meeting. If the number of positive cases increases, plans will be revised as needed. 

Elementary and Preschool Students Return to Hybrid Learning 

  • Students in preschool 4s through grade 5 who were previously enrolled in the hybrid program are anticipated to resume in-person instruction four days per week.
  • Students in preschool 3s who were previously enrolled in the hybrid program are anticipated to resume in-person instruction two days per week.
  • If your child will be returning to the hybrid program and had a school bus assignment, they will have the same bus stop and times.
  • If you would like to change the enrollment preference for your child (they were hybrid before but you want them to remain in distance learning or they were in distance learning before and you want them to start the hybrid program), please contact your child’s school to determine availability.
  • If you have questions about returning to the classroom, please contact your child’s school directly.
  • Face masks, hand washing and the safety measures that were in place this fall will continue. Although students will no longer be required to maintain the 6’ distance, we will do our best to maintain this distance.

Tier 1 Childcare

  • Once elementary students return to hybrid learning, Tier 1 childcare will be available only on Wednesdays for families who qualify. Current Tier 1 childcare participants will receive information in early January to submit dates that care is needed. 

Athletics & Activities

  • Athletic practices will resume the week of January 4.
  • Students must wear a mask at all times and practice social distancing.
  • Additional guidance on games and events will be shared at a later date. Coaches will also share details directly with their athletes.

Community Education & ECFE

  • Classes for ECFE, youth and adults scheduled to begin in person or online in January will continue as planned. Registrants will be notified of updates or changes.
  • Students registered for behind-the-wheel driver instruction will be able to start scheduling lessons. Specific precautions and start dates will be communicated directly to participants and parents/guardians. 

Special Education

  • We anticipate providing some in-person special education services. These services will take place Monday-Thursday, full days and will be available to elementary and secondary students who receive special education services and spend the majority of their day in special education courses with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) indicating federal setting III and IV. Transportation and nutrition services will also be provided. If families are uncomfortable sending their child to school, they may opt-out and students will access services through the distance learning instructional model. More details will be sent to families from the Special Education Department. 

Next Steps

For now, all secondary students will remain in distance learning. We will review case rates, discuss possible next steps and make final decisions on next steps at the school board meeting on January 4.

We will continue to communicate with you as details unfold, but wanted to share this initial information with you as soon as we could, allowing you as much time as possible to prepare for any transitions you or your family will encounter.

We know this is welcome news for many families, but not all. There are also members of our Richfield community who are nervous about in-person learning while case rates remain high. Please know that we will continue all of the cleaning and safety practices that we put into place this fall. Also, know that you can reach out to your child’s school with questions or for support. We are here for you, this year as always. 

Superintendent Steven Unowsky


District Resources and Information for Families:

External Resources:

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