Minnesota elementary school unveils back-to-school plans amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Rochester school operates on the 45-15 yearlong calendar.
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By July 27, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is expected to release formal plans for the 2020-21 school year regarding students returning to schools, continuing distance learning or a hybrid plan that blends in-school and at-home learning. 

One Minnesota elementary school that follows a 45-15 schedule – a yearlong calendar that features 45 days of school followed by 15 days off – has released its back-to-school plans as students get set to return later this month. 

Longfellow Elementary, located in Rochester, sent planning guidelines to families explaining the plan to combine in-person class and distance learning to start the summer calendar beginning July 27. 

The plan will feature half of the students attending in-person class Monday-Tuesday, followed by the other half being in the classroom Wednesday-Thursday. When students are at home two days a week, they will still attend class through distance learning. 

The school will always operate at 50 percent capacity or less, as will school-provided transportation. 

Additionally, students in grades 1-5 will return to school July 27 with the same teacher they had to finish the 2019-20 school year. That'll last the first week before students gradually transition to their new teacher to start the second week. 

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All students will have the opportunity to meet their new teacher before returning to school. 

Longfellow will transition to the Department of Education's learning model of choice beginning the third week of school (Aug. 10), so that'll mean anything from no changes to moving entirely to in-person classes or 100 percent distance learning. 

Masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors, though Principal Adams said more information on the topic will be forthcoming. 

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