Dear Richfield Families,
I sincerely hope that you are all enjoying your summer. Even though school supplies have appeared on store shelves, there are still several weeks left to play, have fun and enjoy time together before classes resume.
Here at RPS, we have been preparing for the upcoming school year. With vaccines now widely available, we are optimistic that school can look a little more “normal” compared to last year. That said, the Delta variant for COVID-19 is spreading and we are working on backup plans in the event that we see a local resurgence of positive cases. We continue to receive regular updates from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education, which inform our decision making process.
With summer in mid-swing and more venues open than we have had in a long time, I urge you not to let your guard down when it comes to your health. Maintain social distancing in public, wear your mask when appropriate and, if you are able to and have not already, please get vaccinated. While vaccines are not currently required for returning to school, they are the best way to help keep our community safe.
If you have concerns about the vaccine, we are hosting a vaccine conversation on Thursday, August 12. Held online, it will be an opportunity for members of the RPS community to come together and share their experiences with COVID-19 or the vaccine, as well as to ask questions. Look for a detailed email about this tomorrow.
Masking & Distance Learning
We are also reviewing our masking policy and our plans for distance learning. We will be presenting formal recommendations at the August 16 school board meeting and will communicate the results from the meeting with you on August 17.
Be advised that any plans adopted must be flexible to allow for quick responses to changes in the pandemic. At this time, the Minnesota Department of Health is in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics in recommending that educators, staff and students wear masks at school unless they have a medical or developmental exemption.
In a recent news release from Education Minnesota, President Denise Specht stated: “The Delta variant has put our schools in a difficult spot. We must be honest about the situation and recognize the science is clear. The best way to keep our schools safe and open this year is to follow the strategies recommended by state and federal health officials, including masking, vaccinations, appropriate ventilation, social distancing and handwashing.”
Safe Learning Plan Feedback
A special thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our Safe Learning Plan. We had almost 400 individuals complete the survey. You can view the results on our COVID-19 Information page, which continues to be the hub for all COVID-19 information across the District.
ESSER stands for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which provides funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had on students. These funds are for one-time or short-term expenditures. To help ensure we are best meeting the needs of our families, we will be sending you a survey in the next week, asking about your priorities. Please watch for it and take the short survey when you get it.
When you are ready to purchase school supplies, you can find the list on your child’s school website. Go to the Family Resources section and then click Back to School. Please note that we do not have school supply lists for high school students, aside from recommended items for freshmen, which you can find on the Incoming 9th-Grade Families page of the RHS website. If you need help purchasing school supplies, please contact your child’s school.
I know this is a lot of information and that there is more coming in the next few weeks—both from us and from your child’s school. We are committed to keeping you informed and ensuring that you have the information you need from us to make the best decisions for you and your family this school year.
If you have questions please don’t hesitate to either reply to this email or use the I Have A Question form on our website. This form is conveniently located on the bottom of every page on our District and school websites.
Enjoy the rest of your summer break and, on behalf of all the staff here at Richfield Public Schools, we genuinely and whole-heartedly look forward to seeing you and your family this fall.
Superintendent Steven Unowsky