UPDATE - Sep 24, 2020, 10:44 AM
I want to give everyone a quick update on how things are going at LRCS. Based on local headlines, it seems like other schools are starting to see an up tick in student/staff cases. Some of them are responding by closing their campus for two weeks and some are taking other precautions based on the circumstances at their specific campus. I think it is wise for each administrator to make decisions for their specific culture and environment.
We still have not had any confirmed cases in our student body or our staff. I am beyond grateful for the miraculous way that God has been allowing us to have normal school. Each day that we get to meet, I say, "thank you Lord". Our daily absences have been running between 5% and 10% of the student body as parents continue to error on the side of caution when deciding to send their child(ren). Thank you for doing that and thank you for communicating that with us. Students with a low grade fever or persistent cough are just staying home until they are healthy.
Our teachers are ready to adapt if we need to change our course for a short period of time. This seems to be one of those years where you just take it a day at a time and don't make plans too far out.
My advice going forward is two-fold. 1) be discerning about your child's exposure to people/activities outside of school and 2) pray daily for our students and staff. I have heard from more people than ever this year that they are praying for us daily. This is not something that we take lightly. I want to encourage each of you to spend time in earnest prayer on our behalf. Imagine 200, 300 or 400 people a day praying for this ministry. Pray for wisdom for our staff and for safety for our students. Thank you for joining forces with us during these crazy times.
UPDATE - Sep 8, 2020, 9:35 AM
I was so pleased with how the first week went. We have thoroughly enjoyed having the students back in the classrooms. Thank you for praying for the safety of our staff and students this year. We greatly appreciate that.
We have not had any students or staff test positive for COVID but a small number of families are keeping their child(ren) home for a couple of days out of an abundance of caution. As a parent, I know it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between normal "sniffles" and COVID symptoms. I appreciate the parents that have been communicating with us that they want to "error on the side of caution" when it comes to sending their child(ren). The question of sending our kids to school or not is something that we will all have to get used to as we go forward with the school year. I would encourage you to keep referring back to the flowchart that we sent earlier that gives guidance on what symptoms to look for.
As I have said before, our parents are the first line of defense. It sounds like everyone is doing a good job of self-monitoring at home prior to sending their child(ren) to the school campus. Thank you for doing that and thank you for your patience as we take this a day at a time. We could not have asked for a better first week and for that I am grateful!
UPDATE - Aug 12, 2020, 2:38 PM
To: LRCS Parents, Students and Prospective Families
From: Mr. Steve Ogren, Principal
Re: LRCS Reopening Plan
August 10, 2020
Dear Parents and Students:
As most of you know by now, our plan is to open our school for on-campus education starting Monday, August 31 for pre-k through 12th grade. I have had the opportunity to talk with many of you over the past few weeks and I appreciate the feedback that I have been getting. I think we all agree that getting our kids back into a normal school routine is the best thing for them and we want to do that as safely as possible.
The landscape before us is different than the landscape behind us. This year will look different in many ways and so I ask for your patience and understanding as we all adjust to the changes that have been forced upon us. One thing that I cannot stress enough is that we are all in this together. If we are going to keep our students safe, it is going to take a united effort on the part of parents, teachers, and students. I know there is danger in over reacting to this virus. We have seen plenty of that. But there is also a danger in being cavalier about it when it comes to the safety of our students in a school setting.
We want our approach to this school year to be filled with discernment and common sense. Parents, we need you to diligently check your child’s temperature each day before sending them to school. If your child has a temperature of 100.0 or above, please do not send them to school. If your child is exhibiting some of the symptoms listed in the information below, please do not send them to school. We are all relying on each other to help keep COVID out of our hallways and classrooms.
We ask that you remind your older children to refrain from all forms of physical contact like hugging, high-fives, sharing food and water, etc. Our little ones are naturally affectionate with their teachers and we are not going to discourage that. If the older ones adapt the mindset that we are attempting to stop the spread of this virus so that we can stay open, this will help. You will notice that we have increased the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the building and everyone is encouraged to use them.
Another change that you will see as you enter the building is that the conventional water fountains have been replaced with bottle-filling stations. Each student needs to have their own clearly marked water bottle to use throughout the day. Teachers will obviously be disinfecting desks and other surfaces on a daily basis. We have also purchased some special cleaning machines to help us sanitize larger rooms, playgrounds, etc.
We will be adding additional lunch tables in the cafeteria to make social distancing a little easier. Large gatherings like choir or chapel will likely take place in the auditorium for the same reason. Please help us with social distancing by not congregating in the hallway down by the pre-k classrooms when picking up half-day pre-k students. If you are early, there is a lot less congestion in the hallway down by the North door.
Our previously scheduled Parent/Student Orientation will need to be changed. It will still be held on Thursday, August 27 but it will now be an Open House type atmosphere where parents and students can go to the individual classrooms to meet their teachers and put away school supplies. If your last name starts with A-G you can come between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. If your last name starts with H-M you can come between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. If your last name starts with N-Z you can come between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
We are moving forward with Soccer and Volleyball this fall for our 7-12 graders. Our conference (MACS) is planning on a modified schedule so stay tuned for that. Some of the volleyball tournaments have already been cancelled but each school is going to try to do a (H) and (A) game with every other team. The elementary soccer team will not start until school starts. Mr. Erickson will have more information on that during the open house on August 27.
I firmly believe that opening our school is the right thing to do for the overall health of our families. I am not so naïve to think that it is not without risk though. We are asking each parent to sign a waiver stating that they understand the risks of coming to school and they understand that we cannot 100% guarantee that their student will not contract this virus. As you will see in this document, we are going to do our best to minimize the risk to everyone but I want to reiterate – we need your help! We are asking for your full support and cooperation as we head into the unknown.
It probably goes without saying that these policies and procedures are fluid and always changing. As long as we all adapt accordingly, we are optimistic that we can stay open all year. There may be short periods of time that we need to shut down completely or go to a “distance learning” model. This would only be necessary if we had a significant outbreak here at LRCS. As I have discussed in previous communication with you, the Governor of MN has given an Executive Order that face coverings are required indoors in MN. There are exceptions given for medical conditions, mental health reasons, and a number of other scenarios. We are leaving that up to the parents of each student. I believe they should have the autonomy to make that decision when the health of their child is in question.
Thank you for your commitment to our school! And to all the new families out there – WELCOME! We will get through this together and with God’s help.
UPDATE - Aug 6, 2020, 11:01 AM
Parent/Student Orientation Schedule
Historically, one of our favorite nights of the year is Parent/Student Orientation Night where all of our students are invited to come and meet the teachers, connect with other students, and drop off school supplies. In addition to this, we would have a general assembly in the auditorium where we would explain student drop–off and pick-up procedures, lunch accounts, and other helpful information for both returning and new students. Because of our new campus-wide safety protocols, we are going to change the schedule for that day since we will not be able to gather in a large group in the auditorium.
Our new plan will be as follows:
Thursday, August 27, 2020 Parent/Student Open House
If your last name starts with A-G 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
If your last name starts with H-M 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
If your last name starts with N-Z 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
There will not be a general assembly in the auditorium, but each teacher will be in their classroom to greet the students and explain important classroom procedures for the school year. Students are encouraged to bring their school supplies during this time.
Please practice social distancing while in the school building. Hand sanitizing stations will be available. Since our teachers will be meeting new people that they have never met before, they will not be wearing face coverings that day.
Feel free to call the school office with any questions or clarifications that you might need, (218) 828-1226.
UPDATE - Aug 3, 10:16 AM
I must admit, there aren’t too many things about COVID that I have enjoyed but one consequence that has been enjoyable is the resurgence of parents who really care about the environment that their child is educated in. I have had countless conversations with parents over the past few months about what school will look like in the fall. Even though there is uncertainty surrounding some of the specifics like sports, and masks, and distance learning; the vast majority of parents agree that hiding in fear is not the way forward.
Our plan for LRCS is to start school for pre-k through 12th grade on Monday, August 31 in person. We do not have the staff or the resources to offer a hybrid learning environment where some students would be in the classroom and some students would engage in distance learning.
As much as we desire to return to a normal school environment, we realize that might be somewhat limited this fall. We are trying not to be overly ambitious while at the same time trying not to be overly cautious. Both extremes could be harmful for our students. Instead, we are going to take a calculated, common sense approach to the school year.
In the plan that will be coming out shortly you will see that we are implementing some new policies and practices to minimize the health risk to our students. These new procedures will most certainly cause some level of inconvenience for families but I would ask that you adhere to our safety policies as this is our best chance of preventing an outbreak of the virus here at LRCS. If we want to continue to remain open, we need to take some necessary precautions.
Your patience and understanding are much appreciated as we continue to navigate waters that we have never sailed before. As always, I would welcome your questions or concerns as you consider whether or not this environment would be the best path forward for your family. This is a communicable virus which means we need to be prepared in the case that we have students or staff that become ill. We will work hard to mitigate the risks but as you know, I cannot guarantee that COVID 19 will not make its way into our halls. That is a very real possibility that we all need to think through. At the same time, understanding that the consequences of staying cooped up in our homes are also very real.
As of last Friday (7/31) we have temporarily suspended enrollment for the 2020-21 school year. New inquiries have been coming in at an unprecedented pace. We were able to enroll many new families but unfortunately have run out of space. Student safety is of utmost importance to us and we feel that we have reached the limit of what we can safely handle.
As you all know, the Governor of Mn. has mandated that all persons entering an indoor facility wear masks. We recommend the use of a mask but leave that decision and responsibility up to each individual parent. No student will be asked to leave for wearing or not wearing a mask.
Lastly, I want to thank each of you for your patience as we head into the unknown. The situation remains very fluid and we will have to adjust as changes come our way. One thing that I cannot over-state is that we need each family to do their part in self-monitoring their children. We are all in this together and we each need to do what we can to keep these kids safe. Please do not send your child if they are running a fever. Check their temperatures daily before sending them to school. We want to do everything in our power to keep the virus out of our school. More specific safety precautions will be coming soon in our “back to school” plan.
Your prayers are much appreciated as we continue planning for the 2020-21 school year.
Mr. Steve Ogren