The Montevideo School District's first day of school is this coming Monday, Aug. 31, and depending on the grade level students will either be in-person, distance learning, or a hybrid of distance learning utilizing a rotating schedule within the student body. However, there will be new guidelines the district will be required to follow.

The Montevideo School District’s first day of school is this coming Monday, Aug. 31, and depending on the grade level students will either be in-person, distance learning, or a hybrid of distance learning utilizing a rotating schedule within the student body. However, there will be new guidelines the district will be required to follow.

There were three models for districts to choose from before the start of the year; in-person for all students; in-person learning for elementary students and hybrid learning for secondary students; or distance learning for all students.

The Montevideo School District has opted to start the year according to the second model: in-person learning for elementary students and hybrid learning for middle and high school students.

Distance learning, however, is a parental choice, and those who choose to opt for distance-only learning are able to do so. The selection may be made at any time, and a family selecting to participate in distance learning must contact the principal’s office of the school their child will be enrolled in to make the necessary arrangements. Families who wish to come back to the in-person or hybrid model of learning will need to contact the principal’s office to make the arrangements.

Montevideo Public Schools will utilize the use of JMC, email, phone calls, social media, the Montevideo Public school’s website, and the local media to keep families updated and informed. In addition, teachers will be using online platforms to communicate with parents and students, and the district’s primary online platform will be Google Classroom.

The district will be utilizing a number of protocols to ensure the health and safety of its students and staff. These protocols include cleaning schedules and procedures to be implemented by custodial and maintenance staff, as well as instructional and support staff for all facilities, supplies, and equipment.

They will also implement rigorous cleaning within high-touch areas on a frequent basis, and restrooms will be cleaned at least twice during the course of each day.

Proper handwashing and hygiene will be taught and emphasized. Hand sanitizer, or soap and water will be available in all classrooms, and stations will be provided throughout each facility. Hand washing and hand sanitizing times will also be built into the daily student schedules.

A health screening protocol will be in place, and families are to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before the students arrive at school each morning. Staff will be screening students throughout the day for symptoms, and students will be asked to wash or sanitize their hands upon entry to the facility. If a student is to fall ill during the school day or feel unwell, they will be sent to the nurse’s office and their parents will be contacted. Staff will also self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms before reporting to work, and staff and students who feel ill are to stay home.

The Montevideo School Board adopted Board Policy 808: COVID-19 Face Covering Policy, which states that all students in grades K-12 as well as staff are to wear face-coverings while in the building or in district vehicles. Staff may wear a face shield during instructional periods, and will wear face coverings when accessing the rest of the building.

Those who have a medical condition preventing them from wearing a face covering must supply documentation from their care provider, which may be submitted to the District Business Office or the Building Principal’s Office. A face shield will be supplied to those with medical conditions, and the shield must be worn throughout the day while in the building or in district vehicles.

Face masks will be provided to all students, and all staff will be provided face masks and/or face shields. If they wish, students and staff may supply their own face covering, but coverings are required to meet the district dress code policy located in the student handbook.

All students in grades 1-12 will be issued a Chromebook by the district, and kindergarteners will have access to a Chrome or a Samsung tablet. Families who opt for distance learning instead will have access to a school-issued device to complete the required coursework, which will be available to all families in grades K-12. Families without internet connectivity will need to contact the district’s technology office at (320) 269-8833 for assistance.

The Montevideo High School will follow the traditional daily schedule for all three scenarios: Period 1 will begin at 8:14 and end at 9:04 a.m.; Period 2 will begin at 9:08 and end at 9:58 a.m.; TA will start at 10:02 and end at 10:16 a.m.; Period 3 will begin at 10:20 and end at 11:10 a.m.; Period 4 will start at 11:14 a.m. and end at 12:04 p.m.; Period 5A will go from 12:08 to 12:30 p.m.; 5B will go from 12:34 to 12:56 p.m.; and 5C will go from 1:00 to 1:22 p.m.; Period 6 will begin at 1:26 and end at 2:16 p.m.; and Period 7 will start at 2:20 and end at 3:10 p.m.

All students are expected to attend school and engage in school work, whether they are physically present in school or not, during school hours. During hybrid and distance learning, students may be required by their teachers to attend class virtually on days when they are physically in school and during the respective class periods.

Second chance breakfast will continue to be made available to students and will be delivered to their TA. In all three scenarios, school lunch will not be served in the cafeteria in order to reduce large group gatherings and maintain social distancing. Instead, students will eat in their 5th hour classrooms or other designated areas, and will be allowed to go outside during lunch whenever possible, following the safety guidelines to ensure health and safety. If they choose to, students may bring their own lunch and keep it in their locker until lunch time.

Social distancing must be practiced at all times to the greatest extent possible. Students will move in a traffic pattern while in the hallways to reduce the chances of physical contact, and entry will not be granted into MHS prior to 7:45 a.m. Students will enter the building where their lockers are located, use their locker, then proceed directly to their first hour class.

Students will not be allowed to congregate in the hallways or any other common areas; they will be allowed to use their lockers prior to 1st hour, during their lunch period, and at the end of the school day. This year, students will also be able to use a backpack or similar bag to carry their items from class to class.

At the end of the school day, students who are not receiving extra help must exit the building as soon as possible.

When “in-person learning,” MHS may deploy a staggered entry and release time to allow students to enter and exit the building in waves to prevent crowding within the building.

Visitors will not be allowed to enter the school unless an appointment has been made prior, to reduce the number of individuals entering the building. Students will also not be allowed to receive deliveries during the school day unless it has been pre-approved.