Preparing for the 2020-21 school year

Rob Brandl
Redwood Falls Gazette

During a traditional summer, school personnel at Cedar Mountain are typically working to finalize everything from the previous school year as we prepare for the fall. This summer is very unique, as we are still not sure what the upcoming school year will look like.

The Minnesota Department of Education has given schools the directive to prepare for three possible scenarios (in-person learning, hybrid learning, distance learning) and will be releasing its initial choice around the week of July 27.

As parents, students and school personnel we are eagerly waiting to hear what is next as we prepare to meet the needs of our learners.

At Cedar Mountain, we are currently focusing all of our energy on what we do know, so we are ready when the time comes.

Here are some things currently happening as we look ahead to the 2020-21 school year:

A district wide “Return to School Planning Team” has been created. This team is currently made up of administration, teachers, custodial staff, food service staff, transportation coordinators, human resources, school health personnel and more. Each member of the group will focus on their specific area to ensure that the plans we develop are comprehensive and meet all of the current guidance of the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Cedar Mountain is hosting bi-weekly all staff meetings via Google Meet to keep staff informed. Many staff members have the summer months off, and we feel it is vital to keep them informed on the latest happenings and updates.

Our custodial staff is working hard on the various facilities projects we had planned for the summer of 2020. Due to not having students in our buildings during April and May, we were able to get nearly all of our summer cleaning accomplished prior to June 1.

Starting in July, our staff will shift their focus to ensuring we have all the proper sanitizing plans and equipment ready and installed for when students and staff return. We have made smaller scale changes already to accommodate the athletics and weight training activities that have been going on in the high school.

Our district is fortunate to have one-to-one technology for all students. Students in Kindergarten through fifth grade use iPads, and our middle/high school students use Chromebooks. Cedar Mountain has free Wi-Fi available on some bus routes, and we are looking to expand the number of busses with this technology.

As the superintendent, I am very proud of what everyone accomplished last spring. Our students, families and staff stepped up when needed and made the best out of an extremely unique and difficult situation.

As a district, we are committed to finding ways to ensure that no matter what the learning environment looks like, learning is taking place.

Thank you to our local communities for their continued support of education.

–Rob Brandl is the Superintendent of Schools for the Cedar Mountain School District