back to school MT

The Monticello School Board has formally approved the administration’s back-to-school plan and was readying to submit it to the Minnesota Department of Education for approval on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The Board approval came at the Monday, Aug. 31 meeting of the Monticello Board of Education.

The Monticello School District is fully committed to the safe return to school of its students and staff, Supt. Eric Olson said.

Under the approved plan, families have two choices when its comes to education during the 2020-21school year.

The first is follow the school district’s implementation of in-person, hybrid, or distance learning models, moving in and out of them as needed according to state guidance and coronavirus activity. The second, is choosing one of three parent opt-in options, which includes elementary school indoor/outdoor classroom, natured-based education for pre-K through grade 5, or distance learning for pre-K through grade 12.

Under the plan, school start times have been reassigned. School hours, as approved by the school board, are: Eastview Education Center: 8:30 a.m. - 2:20 p.m.; Little Mountain Elementary: 9:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m., Pinewood Elementary School: 9:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m., Nature Based Education (Pre-K-5): 8:30 a.m. - 2:20 p.m., Middle School: 7:30 a.m. - 1:37 p.m., High School: 7:30 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. and Turning Point: 7:30 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.

When students return to school, they can expect to see changes in seating arrangements within the classroom to accommodate social distancing. There will be no more small group learning, for example. Also new at schools this year is the requirement that face coverings be worn by staff and students in kindergarten through grade 12. Hand sanitizer stations will be provided at each school so students can sanitize their hands throughout the day.

When it comes to meal service, there will be no self-serve options during the coming year. A hot and a cold meal option will be offered. In elementary school settings, students will eat in the classroom. At other schools, more eating space will be added in order to spread out students and decrease student interaction.

All staff, students and visitors will participate in daily health screenings, as well. This will consist of a series of questions that will need to bew answered in order to remain in the school buildings.

When it comes to busing, pick-up times will be staggered to reduce the number of students arriving at school at the same time.

Elementary school students are scheduled to attend school in person, five days a week. Middle school and high school students will start the year under a hybrid model that includes: students being assigned to one of two groups: Group A or Group B.

According to the school district plan:

• Group A students will attend school in person on Mondays and Wednesdays, with teacher-facilitated remote learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

• Group B students will attend school in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with teacher-facilitated remote learning on Mondays and Wednesdays.

• Every Friday, all students will participate in a distance learning day.

Reach Jeff Hage at


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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