Robbinsdale Area Schools

Update on 2021-22 school year COVID plans

Dear Robbinsdale Area Schools families and community,

For educators and families alike, the start of a new school year is an exciting time. Whether it’s new subjects to study and teach, the feeling of a fresh start, friendly reunions, or meeting new friends -- the first day of school is a special day. 

As staff here at Robbinsdale Area Schools prepare for the 2021-22 school year, we’re keeping a watchful eye on COVID-19 and the emerging delta variant of the virus. We’ve learned a lot over the past 17 months and believe the upcoming school year will be smoother and feel more like what we’re used to, but it’s also clear the pandemic churns on in spite of our wishes it were over.

During the month of August, the District's internal COVID Incident Command Team, made up of administrators, school principals, and the District’s COVID coordinators, has been finalizing the 2021-22 COVID-19 protocols for this upcoming school year. These protocols were presented to the School Board yesterday, Aug. 16  and are now being shared with our families, staff and community. 

Face coverings, quarantines
For Robbinsdale Area Schools, the universal wearing of face coverings represents the safest way to start the 2021-22 school year, and also the least disruptive way to conduct in-person learning. 

Beginning Monday, Aug. 23, face coverings will be required for all pre-K-12 students over the age of two, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, while on the school bus, or while indoors at all schools and District facilities, including the Crystal Learning Center. 

As a school district, we have a responsibility to protect those who can’t get a vaccine or are not yet eligible for one, including our youngest students. 

Requiring masks inside our buildings and buses will allow us to reduce the number of disruptive classroom quarantines. Per the Minnesota Departments of Education (MDE) and Health (MDH), full classroom quarantines will no longer be necessary when face-coverings have been consistently used. There are additional updates regarding quarantines in the event of at-home exposure, and those details can be found on the District’s COVID-19 updates page.

In-person learning
We’re confident in our planning, and the continued layering of efforts to minimize the spread of the virus while at school, which include face-coverings, hand hygiene, and promoting screening and vaccinations of those who are eligible. For those reasons, Robbinsdale Area Schools will begin the school year offering full-time, in-person learning. There’s also the option to enroll in a full-time virtual learning environment, called Robbinsdale Virtual Academy (RVA).

Robbinsdale Virtual Academy (RVA)
For those with concerns about resuming in-person learning, or for those families who discovered their students thrive in a distance learning environment, RVA has been approved for K-12 online education. Please know, RVA is not a substitute for distance learning, but a school unto itself, and once enrolled, transfers can only be done at the end of a semester. Learn more by visiting the RVA website.

Vaccines
Families can find information about how to access free vaccinations by visiting the state’s vaccine connector website. In addition, MDH is currently offering $100 to anyone who gets vaccinated.

We get it -- COVID-19 fatigue is real. As we’ve learned, the situation can change quickly. We’re confident in our planning, and our sincere hope is to hold in-person classes for the entire year, and to set the masks aside -- forever -- as soon as we can. As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and the data, and follow recommendations and guidance of our state and local experts.

Take a look at the District’s COVID-19 webpage for more information and details about how to report an exposure, positive test or active symptoms. We will communicate regularly to share timely and important updates. 

We’re excited for the start of the 2021-22 school year. For more back-to-school information, including supply lists and open house dates, visit rdale.org/bts. Also, watch your mailbox for our annual back-to-school mailer, which should be arriving soon.

Sincerely,

David Engstrom
Superintendent
Robbinsdale Area Schools

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