Current Information

Date: 4-27-2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am emailing to inform you that Governor Walz has closed MN schools for the remainder of the school year and the MN High School League has canceled all spring activities. We miss your children in our schools and hoped to be able to see them again this year! We are heartbroken for our seniors. The Governor has directed schools to continue distance learning through the remainder of the school year.  The state has also designated May 1 and May 4 as professional development days for teachers to updated distance learning strategies and practices.  There will not be distance learning on May 1 and May 4. Distance learning will resume May 5 through the end of the year, May 14.  I encourage parents to be in communication with teachers as things come up.  We are here to do everything we can to make this work for every student, in every situation.  

Thank you to everyone who completed the parent survey.  Results came back positive on distance learning. Parents liked the amount of work, parent/teacher communication, student/teacher interactions, among others. At the same time, there are areas to improve and we will continue to make this the best learning situation possible for students and families.  One specific area that was brought up is to increase the number of interactions between students and the teacher via virtual platforms, such as Zoom.  

Given the Governor's Orders and guidance by MDH and CDC, end of the year events will look different.  Prom has been canceled and parents may be organizing a prom at a later date, if possible.  2020 Graduation will be held on Sunday, May 17th. More details will be released as final plans that follow health guidelines are developed. The Scholarship and Athletic banquet will be held virtually on May 11th.  More details to be announced.  Dance has been postponed. Summer recreation and summer activity plans are on hold for now, but we are hoping to have summer activities. The Flag Day Parade has been canceled.  

Emergency childcare will continue for the remainder of the school year.  So far over 150 children have been served.  Meals will continue to be delivered through the end of the school year. To date, nearly 25,000 meals have been served. 

None of this is the news that we were hoping for.  We will continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of your children!  Together we will get through this.  

Sincerely,

Dennis 


Date:      3/27/2020

Re:         Benson Schools Covid-19 Response Plan

Subject: Governor's Executive Orders

Governor Walz has issued an executive order extending the school closure through May 4, 2020.  The Governor also issued a stay at home order for March 27-April 10. The Governor’s order states that schools need to continue providing meals, child care for emergency workers, and implementing distance learning.  The work within the schools will focus on those core missions during the closure.

What does this mean for Benson Schools moving forward?

  • We will continue to provide meals (554 meals were handed out on 3/25). 
  • We will continue to provide emergency childcare in the junior high
  • Teachers will implement distance learning plans to provide student instruction beginning Monday, March 30th.  
  • Teachers will be working from home.
  • NS will be closed to everyone from March 27-April 10.
  • Custodial staff will be limited and on rotating shifts.
  • The business office will be closed and accessible via phone message or email.
  • The district office will be closed.  Hours will be limited. District staff will be accessible via phone or email. 
  • The AD Office will be closed. Activity Director will be accessible via phone or email. 
  • Community Education (CE) Office will be closed. CE staff will be accessible via phone or email.
  • The BHS office will be closed. Staff will be accessible via phone or email.
  • The NS office will be closed. Staff will be accessible via phone or email.  
  • Benson High School will be closed. Only custodial, maintenance, food workers, and childcare workers will be allowed to come into the building.
  • The Distance Learning plans for grades PK-5 and 6-12 are posted on the district website and teachers will be in contact with students for lesson.. 
  • All events and activities through May 4th are either canceled or postponed. Check the Activities Page for current information.

The Governor’s order is for everyone but state identified essential employees (childcare and food employees) to stay home. The order is in place to keep us and our neighbors safe. When an employee is working at BHS, it will be connected to the essential core operations of the building and will be aligned to the “stay at home” order issued by the Governor.  As I have stated to many, I am incredibly proud of the work of our Benson Brave’s staff.  It comes as no surprise as our staff is incredible. The work that staff are doing is making a significant difference to our students, families, each other, and our community. Many compliments have been received recognizing staff for their dedication to our students, school, and community. Together we will get through this situation.   Go Braves! 

With incredible pride and gratitude,

Dennis


3-23-2020

This is another update to keep you informed about what is happening at Benson Schools during the Governor's Order to closes schools. While things are changing rapidly, Benson Schools is committed to providing regular updates to keep you informed.  

  • Governor Walz has ordered all schools closed through Friday, March 27, 2020. No other orders have been issued for schools at this time. 
  • Families and the public can get up-to-date information about covid-19 on the Benson School website:  http://www.benson.k12.mn.us/district_office/covid-19_information
  • Benson Schools is providing free meals to anyone ages 18 and under at locations throughout the district. Families can still sign up for meals on the school website listed above. There are at least 25 staff working hard to prepare, package, and deliver over 500 meals daily to families.  
  • Benson Schools is providing free emergency childcare at Northside for children of Tier 1 and Tier 2 emergency workers as identified by the state. Sign up can be found on the school website above. 
  • Benson Public Schools is currently working hard to develop an innovative distance learning plan that is equitable for all students. Our teachers are doing a terrific job of completely redesigning education in a few days to prepare for teaching students when they are not in the classroom at all. While teachers are doing the hard work to get this going, the lessons will most likely need some revisions. The distance learning plan will not be perfect the first time and that is expected.  We ask for your patience and input during implementation to grow the plan. Below are some of the things staff are working on as plans are developed:
    • Less is more. We don't want to overwhelm students and parents with work.
    • Focus on students.
    • Strategies to maintain connections with students.
    • Equitable education for every student.
    • Time for teachers to answer questions from students and parents.
    • Time for students on an IEP to receive services. 
    • Distance Learning plan will be posted on the school website on Thursday, March 26. If implementation is needed, the plan will be communicated to students and parents on Friday, March 27th.  
  • Will Distance Learning be implemented?  At this time the Governor's Order is in effect until March 27th and no date has been announced for Distance Learning implementation.  
  • Each student will receive a phone call from the school early this week to check on students and see if there are things that are needed. During the call, the school will be checking on the students' ability to connect to the internet and if at least one device is in the home.  We miss our students, your children!
  • The US Department of Education has waived standardized testing for states.  MDE (MN Department of Education) has stated they will be seeking a waiver.  The plan is there will be no MCA testing this spring. 
  • During the School Closure all activities are canceled.  
  • What about ACT testing for juniors and some seniors?  The ACT is not controlled by the state.  The March 24th ACT exam has been canceled. ACT has tests scheduled in April, at this time.
  • What about the April 14 special election for gymnastics/activity space?  The election is still on. The Governor would have to take action to cancel or postpone the election.  Absentee balloting is currently open.  A legal voter can get an absentee ballot by calling the Swift County Auditor’s Office and they will mail out an absentee ballot.  

Together we will get through this.  We take this situation seriously and the health and safety of students, families, staff, and our community is our top priority. Please contact me should you have any questions.  

Be Well,

Dennis Laumeyer

Superintendent



3-19-2020


School is closed to the public.  Only staff and essential personnel are allowed in the building.

The school is providing meals free of charge to all children age 18 and under.  Please click here to follow the link to take advantage of this program.

Meal Sign Up Information

The school is offering a childcare program at Northside Elementary for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders and other emergency workers that need childcare. Contact the Northside Office should you need this service for your child(ren) and complete the form below to register. 

Childcare Registration for Emergency Closure


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