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COVID-19 Response Plan
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MPS COVID-19 Response Plan

MPS COVID-19 Response Plan

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The MPS COVID-19 Response Plan provides essential information to students, families and staff to help everyone adjust to living and learning under these challenging times. Updates to this resource page will be made as students take part in Distance Learning and new information is made available.

While school buildings are closed, MPS students will still continue learning through Distance Learning.

Answers to questions on the following topics are available on this page; see the latest family updates here related to Distance Learning and COVID-19.

  1. Food services for children; Shelter, clothing, financial, medicaion
  2. Managing stress and anxiety; wellness and mental health
  3. Communications
  4. Technology support
  5. Instruction and grading
  6. Standardized testing
  7. Special Education and 504 services
  8. Specific student groups
  9. Staff resources
  10. Free child care for emergency personnel and health workers
  11. MPS buildings and playgrounds

1. Food services for children; Shelter, clothing, financial, medication

a. How can families get food for their children while schools are closed?

MPS is providing FREE meals to any child 18 years and younger at nearly 50 locations around the city while schools are closed due to COVID-19; see where these sites are and related information.

If you cannot get to a food pick up site due to a medical condition or extenuating circumstances, you can request a weekly home delivery. These are available on a limited basis and are reserved for families who cannot get to a site. Request a home delivery here.

b. Resources for displaced families, clothing, financial, medications

If you are in need of emergency shelter, contact the Hennepin County shelter team for information about shelter options. For questions, call 612-348-9410. On holidays, weekends, and evenings until 11 p.m., call 211 (mobile: 651-291-0211) and ask for the after-hours shelter team.

For food, clothing, financial or medication assistance, the City of Minneapolis has a list of resources for residents who need help.

If you need help accessing additional resources, United Way First Call for Help can connect you with information and resources. 

2. Managing anxiety and stress; wellness and mental health

a. What can I do if I’m worried that my child will not get the mental health support they received at school?

If your child receives school-based mental health services when school is in session, these services are still available when school is closed. Your health care provider should have already reached out to you, if not, please call your school social worker to get reconnected. School-based clinics at MPS high schools are still providing their services and can also provide mental health services for students.

b. What supports are there for families during this stressful time?

Our educators are also committed and focused on providing students with social emotional learning (SEL). Staff will be providing students and families with SEL guidance in both paper and digital formats as part of Distance Learning. Your teacher and principal can provide more information upon request.

A resource list of public benefits is also available. If you have questions about other resources, please contact Thaddeus Lesiak in our Family Resource Center at 612.668.4281.

c. Discrimination Helpline: 1.833.454.0148

If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination against Asian people, please report this to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at the toll-free helpline: 1.833.454.0148. The helpline is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.

3. Communications

a. How does MPS get important information out to families and students about Distance Learning?

MPS is continuing to keep families regularly informed of related COVID-19 information, including Distance Learning, through its various communication channels: emails, robocalls, social media, video, radio, and the district website; essential information is also translated in Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

If individuals cannot find answers to their questions through these sources, they are encouraged to call the District Communications Center at 612.668.0000 which is staffed 24/7, seven days of the week; multilingual services are also provided at this number. You can also email answers@mpls.k12.mn.us.

Families are also encouraged to contact their child’s principal or teacher for assistance with questions.

Distance Learning expectations and logistics are being communicated to families and students as information is being developed through these communication channels.

4. Technology support

a. What should I do if my child needs a device to participate in Distance Learning?

Please visit this page for the most current information on what MPS is doing to provide students with devices for Distance Learning.

b. Who should we contact if we have trouble connecting to the internet or have other technology issues?

Students with technology concerns should contact the MPS Service Desk by phone at 612.668.0088; staff are available Monday through Friday, between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm.

If students are having difficulty with an app that is part of a lesson their teacher assigned, please reach out to the teacher first. If the teacher is unable to solve the issue, then please reach out to the help desk noted above.

c. What other internet access resources are there?

The City of Minneapolis is providing free WiFi in Minneapolis for those who may need temporary internet access during the COVID-19 situation. However, connectivity is limited and internet boosters are needed. Visit this webpage for more information.

5. Instruction and grading

a. What does my child need to do to get started with Distance Learning, which starts on April 6, 2020?

Teachers will be in close contact with students to provide guidance during the transition to Distance Learning. For an overview of how to get started with Google Classroom or Seesaw, please click on the information sheets below:

b. What will Distance Learning look like for my preschool-aged child?

We know that young learners do best when engaged in real-life, hands-on experiences and play. At MPS, young learners take part in activities that promote creative play, real-life exploration, physical activity, language development, and social interactions that are important for child development.

Preschool students and their caregivers have the opportunity to participate in lessons throughout the week in a variety of ways. All teacher plans include daily activities in the following areas: Literacy and Language, Math, Science, Art, Physical Large and Fine Motor Activities, and Social and Emotional Learning.

Early Childhood teachers will use screen time to engage and interact with students and their caregivers if they choose to use technology. Students have daily interaction with licensed teachers through developmentally- and culturally-appropriate content and mediums such as Google Classroom, SeeSaw, email or website messages.

Early Childhood Special Education teachers are providing individualized instruction appropriate for each student as outlined in their Individualized Distance Learning Plan (see below for more information under Special Education Services).

Families can also find preschool learning enrichment activities on the MPS website. MPS is also connecting with students and caregivers by providing learning enrichment paper packets available at MPS food distribution sites.

c. What should we do if we don’t have the technology and internet access for online learning?

Please visit this page for the most current information on what MPS is doing to provide students with devices for Distance Learning.

d. Will my child have daily interactions with the teacher?

Yes, beginning April 6, your teacher will reach out with a daily message each school day.  Teachers will also communicate the hours they are present online and available to respond to student needs by phone and/or email.

e. How will you be grading my child during this time?

Students will continue to be assessed by their classroom or content-area teacher using the same school-based grading scale that was used prior to school closures. Technology and non-technology based lessons are being used by teachers to instruct and assess student learning. Teachers will continue to record student progress in Gradebook which will remain accessible to families through Parent Portal.

Quarter 3 has been extended by eight days and will end on Thursday, April 16, 2020. All students will receive a grade from their classroom teacher for their work (students who complete Quarter 3 work via paper packets will have the opportunity to turn in that work when they return to their school building). Quarter 4 will begin on Monday, April 20, and end on Friday, June 5.

f. How will teachers be tracking student attendance?

Teachers will track attendance through participation in virtual learning either online or through other student contact such as text, email and phone calls.

g. What do I do if my child is sick and can’t attend online classes?

Families should follow the regular MPS guidelines and call in to MPS to report the absence so it can be marked as excused. But rather than calling your school’s attendance line, to report an absence, families should call 612.668.1200.

6. Standardized testing

a. MCAs

Per guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education, after March 27 no MCAs will be administered in Minnesota schools.

b. International Baccalaureate (IB)

IB Diploma Programme Exams have been canceled; see the MPS letter to families informing families of the cancellation. For the latest information on how students will earn an IB score, families should email their student’s IB Diploma Programme teacher or visit the International Baccalaureate Organization.

c. Advanced Placement (AP)

AP exams have moved online. For the latest information on how students will access their AP exam, please email your student’s AP teacher or go to the AP website.

d. ACT

The ACT has been rescheduled for June 13, 2020, or a future national test date. For further updates, please visit the ACT website.

7. Special Education and 504 services

a. How will my child’s IEP be met?

An Individual Distance Learning Plan will be created for each student who receives special education services. The Distance Learning Plan will address how best to meet your students’ needs through a Distance Learning model, where possible, including direct specialized instruction, related services, modifications and accommodations during Distance Learning.

Adaptive equipment and assistive technology will be provided if possible. Case managers will provide instruction through technology, paper, pencil or work boxes to meet the needs of each individual student.

Progress on areas of need in special education that are addressed during Distance Learning will be measured by comparing a student's skill level at the beginning and then at the end of Distance Learning. Case managers will use data collected from progress monitoring to measure growth, maintenance or regression of skills or behaviors.

If an evaluation of a student with a disability requires a face-to-face meeting or observation, the evaluation may need to be delayed until school reopens.  Evaluations and reevaluations that do not require face-to-face assessments or observations may take place while schools are closed.

Special Education and Indian Education will work in collaboration with schools and teams in connecting with families and students to provide services during Distance Learning.

b. How will lessons be delivered to accommodate students with 504 plans?

Your student’s 504 case manager will collaborate with teachers and relevant support staff to plan for implementation of accommodations and services during Distance Learning. 504 case managers and the district's 504 coordinator are available to consult on how best to accommodate your child at home during Distance Learning. 504 Teams can meet through video, phone or email to conduct evaluation meetings or 504 Plan meetings.

8. Specific student groups

a. How can I make sure that my child gets their English Learners (EL) programming?

Schools have guidance to use their multilingual resources (language line) and staff while communicating with families and students. EL teachers will conference (communicate) with their students and/or families one to two times per week to set goals, support learning and provide feedback. EL instruction consists of one conference plus a sequence of lessons aimed to support students in developing their English skills. Classroom teachers will work with EL teachers weekly to make sure learning has support for multilingual students.

b. What supports are there for families who are homeless?

Families experiencing homelessness should contact their school social worker for information about resources and support. If you are unable to reach your social worker or have further questions, please contact Charlotte Kinzley at charlotte.kinzley@mpls.k12.mn.us or 612.668.5480.

c. How will you be communicating with American Indian families? What partnerships for our community can we access?

We are working closely with our community partners such as Native American Community Clinic, Division of Indian Work, MIGIZI, Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, and others to provide the right support and resources for families and students. We know through recent conversations with the American Indian community that among their main concerns are access to the internet and receiving communications from schools. We are working diligently with our communities to provide families with the resources they need so their student can participate in Distance Learning.

If you have any questions, please contact Indian Education at indianed@mpls.k12.mn.us.

d. How will the Office of Black Student Achievement (OBSA) continue to support students in the Kings and Queens program?

OBSA will support Kings and Queens in the transition to Distance Learning through supporting students in adjusting to the change in routine; balancing family responsibilities; engaging in a new learning platform; anxiety and paranoia; Life Coaching; completing core subject work; academic and personal goal setting; and using technology. For more information, please contact Michael Walker at michael.walker@mpls.k12.mn.us.

e. What community resources and partnerships can families access if they have a child who is vulnerable?

School psychologists, counselors and social workers are reaching out to students and families to provide support services to help ensure students are engaged in Distance Learning. Services and supports will vary depending on individual student needs. Support staff are available to consult with teachers about individual student needs.

MPS' Early Childhood Family Education Department and its High Five preschool program, along with PICA Head Start and private preschools are collaborating with MPS staff to provide Distance Learning to vulnerable students.

9. Staff resources

In preparation for Distance Learning, staff have been provided with many resources including guidance, webinar training, and technical assistance on how to telework and deliver instruction for Distance Learning. Mental and physical health resources have also been shared in regular staff updates and provided through a COVID-19 resource section on the staff intranet.

10. Free child fare for emergency personnel and health workers

If you qualify as an essential emergency or health care professional per Governor Walz’s executive order, MPS is providing free child care to those who have a child enrolled in an MPS school. Individuals need to provide proof of their employment in the form of a letter from your employer or other worker identification.

Services are for children ages 4 to 12 and provided Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 am-4:30 pm at designated locations (sites are open from 6:30 am - 6 pm). Students may be bussed to a program for a 7:30 am arrival and a 4:00 pm departure. To sign up, email mpls.kids@mpls.k12.mn.us or call 612.612.668.3890.

11. MPS buildings and playgrounds

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as recommended by the State of Minnesota, all school buildings are closed (except for emergency day care sites) and all playground equipment on MPS property will be closed to the public until further notice. Signage notifying the public of the closure is displayed on school playgrounds.

Play equipment is only available for use by emergency childcare programs adhering to the following procedures:

  • Not mixing groups of children when outside.
  • Socializing only with other children they have already been spending time with during the day.
  • Not sharing equipment between groups, but rather having group-specific balls, jump ropes, and other play equipment, etc.
  • If there is not enough equipment for each group to have their own set, then cleaning equipment between group play times.
  • No games that involve touching others.
  • Consider obstacle courses that don't require children to touch or grab equipment.
  • Incorporate handwashing before and after outdoor time.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the public's cooperation.