This information was sent via email on 7.8.20…

Dear St. John’s Families,

I pray that the sunshine and warm summer months are offering you some rest and relaxation!  Thank you to so many parents for your survey responses so that we can fully understand a variety of perspectives.  Thank you for your commitment to St. John’s as we move forward.  Thanks, too, for your patience as we wait for those yearbooks to arrive!

As promised, I’m writing to briefly update you on planning and to share a few announcements pertaining to next year.  In these past few weeks since you last heard from me, we’ve been hard at work gathering information and making plans.  I’ve formed a task force with other school administrators in the metro area who are also committed to reopening school, and we’ve got our own St. John’s task force at work researching best practices for risk mitigation and safety as we work to reopen.  We will continue to loop other staff and professionals into this work in the coming weeks.

2020-21 PLAN:
My recommendation and plan (to be approved by the school board and deacon council in the next two weeks) is to safely reopen our school on August 31 for in-person learning every day per our school calendar — independent of public school plans.  We will all need to remain flexible in the face of unknowns this next year, but it is a blessing to have some freedom to choose what is best in our specific setting as we see what unfolds.  Be prepared to pivot as needed, but as much as possible, our main focus will be on how to have our students in the building to learn.

NEXT UPDATE:
When complete plans, guidelines, policies, and expectations have been finalized by school and church leadership, I will share further highlights and details with you via email.  In the coming weeks, you will receive sign-up information for our Back-to-School event and virtual Tell the Teacher More days.  Back-to-school packets will be mailed in August this summer and will include an addendum regarding all COVID adjustments.

NEW SCHOOL HOURS:
I am pleased to share with you that we will have new school hours next year!  The school day will begin at 8:00 A.M. and end at 3:00 P.M.  This change affords us the ability to offer greater student support in the classroom throughout the day and more teacher guidance around instruction and work time.  We also gain flexibility with class variety and scheduling, and we lessen costs for families using after-school care.  We are not charging additional tuition for this extended time.  We still plan to offer the capability for students to arrive at school as early as 7:00 A.M., and ESP plans to continue to provide the necessary care for students after school until 5:30 P.M.  Osseo busing details/options will be provided after the district finalizes their plans.  St. John’s busing plans are still being determined as well.

PARTNERSHIP:
Several classes are at or near capacity, so please solidify your enrollment plans as soon as possible. This coming year will provide us with many opportunities for leadership, wisdom, stewardship, volunteerism, and open-mindedness.  It will take commitment from every one of us to keep our students and staff healthy and strong to accomplish the work the Lord has determined for us to do!

Blessings and I’ll reach out again in a few weeks.

In joyful service,
Gretchen Dolan