Today we want to take this opportunity to give some well-deserved recognition to the critically important role that our Educational Assistants ('paras', in local terminology:) play in our mission. When you move past all the layers of school, in the end, our most noble and practical mission is that all of our children are on track to master the state standards and that all children love learning and embrace the idea of self-improvement. If we can give our parents, community, and nation that outcome, I cannot think of any greater cause or better gift to society—and Pierz Schools is fortunate to have 33 of these gifted individuals, working with our students and staff every day (getting a photo of all of them proves especially challenging as they are ALWAYS on the move!)
We all know that children require intense helping hands and helping hearts. Most average people cannot or would not do that job. It requires levels of patience, perseverance, and setting aside of assumptions that many are not willing to call upon.
Each day you are handed the challenge of finding patience, understanding, and setting expectations for your students that oftentimes might exceed the expectations they've set for themselves. Although a child may need you, many won't say it. Yet, you continue to be there providing support and encouragement.
To our Educational Assistants: I hope you each find a moment to look in the mirror and feel the personal pride you deserve. I likely speak for every teacher, parent, student and community member whose lives you've touched: thank you. We could not do what we do here at Pierz Schools without you.
Students with a close contact exposure can return to school/activities after 7 days IF:
* exposure to someone that is not in the same household
* they test negative
* the test is taken after day 5 of the first contact day
* and are symptom free
Minnesota has opened up at home testing for everyone in MN. You can follow the links below to order test kits for all in your family. Each person must have a unique email address to order the kits. These tests are FREE. Please take advantage of these and have them on hand in case of an exposure.
If all 4 circumstances are not met, return will be after day 10 or as determined by school nurse.
We are excited that MDE has approved the plan we presented to bring students back to school!
We are optimistic as we make these changes—not because the challenges are gone, but because we have some experience and have a stronger sense of what we are up against, how to react, and how not to react to various situations.
We have to assume that the absence of students and staff through new cases and contact tracing will be our most important challenge and most likely the biggest cause of frustration. Covid is not gone. The rules of contact tracing are still the same. Our vigilance to social distancing, reminding students, podding students, and implementing the highest levels of care is as critical in the next month as ever.
It is not a matter of if it happens; rather, it is a matter of how many are forced to leave with each positive case. This is the conversation we need to have with students. It is their team, or their concert, or their friends. The end goal is having school and every event with everyone there.
With that said, here is the return-to-school plan for Pierz Schools:
Dates to note:
Monday, January 11 - Move to Hybrid grades 5-12
Monday, January 18 - In-person, grades 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
Friday, January 22-25 - per current calendar year, these are non student days (PS-12)
Tuesday, January 26 - Preschool returns. PS-4 in person, grades 5-12 no school
Monday, February 1 - In-person, grades 7, 8, 9 (all students PS-12 are in person!)
To further explain our rationale:
We received a waiver on our appeal for starting hybrid Jan. 11. That waiver allowed us to by-pass the state proclamation that schools can only start bringing students back three grades at a time beginning January 18. However, the "three grades at a time" rule made it impossible for us to just be all in-person at the start of the 2nd semester. We were then faced with the issue of having to wait two weeks from whenever we start bringing students back.
—George Weber, Superintendent, Pierz Schools
Students in grades kindergarten through grade 4 will continue with in school learning as they have been. There won’t be any changes to classrooms and teachers until at least the end of the semester on January 22. Pending continued decreases in Covid cases in the school, community and county, we would like to bring preschool back to school at that time, on Tuesday, January 26th.
Students in grades 5-12 will return to a hybrid model where they attend 2 days a week in person and 3 days at home. The schedule will be Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday as assigned in November. If unsure what days your student should attend, students in grades 7-12 can find it in Synergy under student information. Students in grades 5 or 6 can check with their teacher. Attendance in person is required for these school days scheduled in person. Please be sure to contact the office on the days when your student needs to be absent and if it is health related, contact the nurse. You can use the Covid reporting form.
With so many changes in who will be attending in person or at home, we need to start fresh with a new meals survey. If your student is remaining in distance learning, you can still pick up bundled meals for them. Pick up will be Monday and Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 at the MAC door (door 22). You do need to complete a new survey.
Students who are in grades 7-12 are sent a survey each morning they are in the building to ask if they want salad for lunch and a to go meal. Remind your 7-12 students to complete it. You do not need to complete the new meal survey.
Students in grades 5 and 6 will be given a meal at the end of their day here for their next day of at home learning. You do not need to complete the new meal survey.
For students in grades 5 and 6 who need childcare on the days they are not in school, you can email Sarah Funk. Priority will be given to those with both parents classified as essential workers. If your student is currently attending childcare, you should have received an email about scheduling.
While we are excited to bring students into the building for learning, we still are challenged with how to get them here and back home. The rules for contact tracing have not changed; anyone within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes who tests positive is considered exposed and will need to stay home from school. That said, the more parents who can drive their students, the less risk those students will be to being contact traced. Thank you for your continued support.
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