Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will return elementary students to full in-person learning, with a staggered start beginning on Feb. 1, Superintendent Theresa Battle announced Dec. 23.

The decision follows “new guidance from the state of Minnesota, and after consulting with our constituent COVID-19 Advisory Committee,” Battle said in a message on the district website.

She said reasons for the return to in-person learning include:

• A growing understanding that younger children are least impacted by COVID-19.

• Ongoing concern about the academic, social and emotional losses for students during distance learning.

• The belief that schools are the safest, most predictable space for many students to be.

The schedule is:

Jan. 27-28 — No school for prekindergarten through grade two. All other grades continue with distance learning. These days will be used to prepare for students to return on Feb. 1.

Jan. 29 — No school for all students. This is a planned day for professional development and for teachers to complete first-semester report cards.

Feb. 1 — Students in prekindergarten through grade two will begin full-time, in-person learning, five days per week.

Feb. 11-12 — No school for grades three through five. These days will be used to prepare for students to return on Feb. 15.

Feb. 15 — Students in grades three through five will begin full-time, in-person learning, five days per week.

“These changes do not affect middle or high schools at this time, which continue to be more closely tied to how many new cases there are in the community. They also don’t affect students enrolled in Virtual Academy.

“Activities and athletics may resume in-person practices as soon as Jan. 4. Students should watch for information directly from their school or coach,” Battle said.

“If you wish to change your students’ learning model (Virtual Academy or In-Person/Hybrid/Distance) for second semester, you should submit a change request form by Jan. 6,” she said.

More details will come after winter break, she said, urging families to watch their email or follow the district on Facebook or Twitter.

“Our school district leaders, principals, program leaders, and staff are working hard to plan a safe return to school for our youngest students. I believe in our ability to make that happen, and I’m excited about the benefits for our students and families,” Battle said.

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