The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released new guidance for schools on school-aged child care, assessing learning and early education for the upcoming school year.

  • Early Education & Care: Answers question and gives update on  care of preschool children in your building for the various teaching models for the 2020-21 school year
  • School-Age Child Care: Answers questions and gives updates on School Age Care for the various teaching models.  There is also an updated list of who is considered a Tier 1 critical worker.
  • Assessing Learning: Gives recommendations on how to equitably assess and grade students for the various teaching models

View Full Guidance

View key takeaways from each below.

Early Education & Care

  • Districts may implement their normal fee structure for operating School Readiness, community education pre-K and ECFE programs if the programs are being offered through distance learning and the parent opts in to receive the services. 
  • Any school-based programs with a Parent Aware rating expiring in summer or fall of 2020 have been extended to December 31, 2020. 
  • In a hybrid model, ECFE, Voluntary PreK (VPK), School Readiness and School Readiness Plus (SRP) classrooms for children should maintain a group size of 10 including children and staff. 
  • If a district or school offers Voluntary PreK or School Readiness Plus, School Readiness, community education pre-K or ECFE, they follow the same learning model as the elementary school except for the masking requirements. Children up to age 5 are not required to wear masks 
  • Different hybrid models for early learning are given in the document. 
  • Screening programs should align and follow the same model as their districts or schools (in-person, hybrid, or distance). 
  • The requirement to complete early childhood developmental screening within 30 days under Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 121A.17, is extended to 90 days. 
  • All students over two years old are encouraged to wear a mask to the extent possible when riding a bus. 

School Age Care

  • A school district that operates a hybrid or distance learning model “must provide school-aged care for Eligible Children at no cost during the time those children are not receiving instruction in the school building during regular school hours.” 
  • The school-age care for children of critical workers is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is at home, due to employment as a critical worker. 
  • School-age care must be provided for district or school-enrolled school-age children age 12 and under who are children of critical workers in Tier I of the state critical worker list 
  • Children of Tier I workers only will be cared for at no cost during the typical school hours. 
  • List of Tier 1 workers is given in the guidance document 
  • Fees can be charged for care for children beyond Tier I workers or for any care provided beyond the typical school hours based on your district’s current fee-based model. 
  • Schools are not required to provide this care during previously scheduled breaks reflected on a school-board approved calendar. 

Assessing Learning

District leaders and educators need to:

  • Design assessment and grading systems that are rooted in values that reflect the needs of students.
  • Approach the creation of new assessment and grading systems with an equity mindset
  • Include all voices in the creation of any new assessment and grading system, especially those most impacted by the change.
  • Communicate assessment and grading policies and practices in multiple languages and through multiple modes of communication to fit the needs of the community. 
  • Consider embedding social emotional learning tasks into academics.
  • Provide choices in assessment and grading for families, students, and educators.