Spring 2021 Information
- First Day of School Checklist
- New Teachers
- School Hours
- Classroom Placement Letters
- iPad Return Needed-Last Year's K/4 Students
- Kindergarten Families
- One on One Meeting Sign-ups
- School Supplies
- Sample Distance Learning Schedule
- Sample Hybrid Schedule (Kindergarten Only to Start)
- New Parking Lot-Read Carefully
- Continued Construction
- COVID PROCEDURES
- Breakfast & Lunch
- Additional Back-to-School Information
- Tech Support
- ipad agreement
Classroom placement letters were sent in the mail on Friday, August 28. This is an exciting time of the summer. I know my own children have been checking the mailbox daily since the calendar turned to August, waiting in anticipation for the name of their new teacher. These letters are the first indication of our new beginnings and the start of a great school year. I know that some students (and even some parents) may have their hearts set on a particular teacher or having a particular friend in the same classroom. With this in mind, a friendly reminder that a positive attitude from you can be reassuring and make a big difference in how your child navigates his/her feelings about the upcoming school year. Our children are far more adaptable than we think, and if we share a positive outlook, our children will feel assured and more positive themselves.
There are many factors that go into creating class sections including academics, social/emotional needs, student personalities, additional service needs, and more! When our learning model for the fall was approved by the school board, we assigned full time Distance Learning students to the grade level's Distance Learning teacher. We then balanced out the Hybrid students across the remaining grade level teachers, using the criteria above, while also splitting them into Cohort A and Cohort B by last names. The complexity of making class lists in a normal year are great and this year, the complexity was multiplied. We are not able to make changes to class lists, both due to the domino effect changes create, and the limits we have placed upon us in the model for this fall. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
If your child was in Kindergarten or 4th grade last year, we need their iPads returned as soon as possible. You can return the iPad and charger to ANY District 197 building, as Somerset is not an option due to current construction status. All other students can keep their iPads for this fall. If you do not have a district issued iPad, you will receive one at your one on one meeting.
We are so excited to welcome our kindergarteners to Somerset, whether in Hybrid or full-time Distance Learning. We know that this is a unique start to your child's kindergarten year, but our Somerset staff is so excited to start this adventure together! Below you will find more detailed information for our Kindergarten Orientation Week!
Virtual Parent Meetings
All parents are invited to attend a Virtual Parent Meeting. You will hear from Somerset staff, including the principal, counselor, nurse, child nutrition, transportation, and technology. We will have some technology training to familiarize families with the tech tools their children will be using this school year. In addition, you will break out into small groups to meet directly with your child's kindergarten teacher.
Virtual Meetings will be on Google Meet. The dates/times and Google Meet links are listed below. All Virtual Meetings will be recorded, incase your schedule does not allow for you to attend the meeting live.
Monday, September 14: 9:00 am-10:30 am-All Hybrid Group A Families (Last names A-K)
- Google Meet Code: meet.google.com/cnv-dnsk-rbk
Monday, September 14: 10:30 am-12:00 pm-Full Time Distance Learning Families (All)
- Google Meet Code: meet.google.com/kep-avwt-mvh
Thursday, September 17: 9 am-10:30 am-All Hybrid Group B Families (Last name L-Z)
- Google Meet Code: meet.google.com/gkh-gnaw-amq
Kindergarten On Site & Virtual Orientation
Tuesday, September 15 (Hybrid & Distance Group A) and Friday, September 18 (Hybrid & Distance Group B) kindergarten students will attend a half day of Kindergarten Orientation with their classroom teacher.
The orientation day will run from 8:30 am-12:00 pm. District transportation and meal service will be provided. Students will spend time building community, getting to know their new school setting (in-person or virtual), building routines, and practicing the use of technology needed for Distance Learning. You must send your child to school each day with a fully charged iPad, which you will receive at the one on one meetings next week.
If you are driving your child, please arrive no earlier than 8:15 am and use the parent drop off lane. Again, as a part of our mitigation efforts we ask that all parents stay in their vehicles to the extent possible during drop off and pick up.
Breakfast and lunch will be served by our child nutrition staff. Menus are not currently be available, but keep checking the Somerset Menu on the website for the most up to date menu information. Your child is always welcome to bring a lunch from home. If this is your family's plan, please send a lunch with your kindergartener on orientation day.
All students have the opportunity to meet with their child's classroom teacher in a one to one meeting on either September 10, from 12pm-6pm or September 11, from 8am-1pm.\
Links to sign up to meet with your child's teacher can be found on the Somerset Website and are also linked below. When signing up, you can choose to attend this meeting in person (socially distanced and outdoors) OR virtually (through a Google Meet). These meetings are to start building a relationship between student and teacher, give some information about the first week of school and will also serve as a technology and material pick up to start the school year.
ALL students, Kindergarten-4th grade will be issued a school district iPad for the school year.
If you are choosing to attend the meeting virtually, we will need to make other arrangements for pick up of materials prior to September 14.
Click on your child's teacher's name below to sign up:
***Please note that students will not have shared supplies this year. Please LABEL all school supplies.
Students should also have a mask for each day they are on site and a refillable water bottle, as our drinking fountains will not be accessible, but our water bottle filling station will be!
If you are in need of assistance with gathering school supplies, please reach out to our family support worker, Emily Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following schedule is a sample Distance Learning Schedule. A finalized schedule will be shared by your child's classroom teacher. All Distance Learning classes will be broken up into two groups (A and B).
Distance Learning Sample Schedule
8:30-Morning Meeting Google Meet (Both A & B)
9:00-Literacy Instruction via Google Meet (Group A)/Independent Work via Seesaw (Group B)
9:50-Literacy Instruction via Google Meet(Group B)/Independent Work via Seesaw (Group A)
10:45-Math Instruction via Google Meet(Group A)/Independent Work via Seesaw (Group B)
11:35-Math Instruction via Google Meet(Group B)/Independent Work via Seesaw (Group A)
11:25-Lunch Break & Free Time
1:45-Small Group Instruction via Google Meet (mix of A & B-Daily Schedule TBD)
2:40-Closing Circle Google Meet (Both A & B)
Days at Somerset
-Morning Meeting (joined by both A and B groups daily-either on site or via Google Meet)
-Specialist Area (PE, Music, Art or Spanish)
-Closing Circle (joined by both A and B groups daily-either on site or via Google Meet)
Days at Home
8:30-Morning Meeting via Google Meet
9:00-2:40-Self-Paced Independent Activities posted on Seesaw
-may include some individual or small group instruction from classroom teacher on Wednesday
-2:40-Closing Circle via Google Meet
Somerset has a new and improved parking lot! With all changes, this will take some getting used to. Please read carefully to ensure everyone's safety.
The Somerset parking lot is now broken up into two separate lots.
- The North driveway is for busses only. Our school busses will enter and exit the bus loop from the North driveway.
- The South driveway is for parent/car access. Parents will enter and exit the parking lot from the South driveway.
If you are driving your child to school, please read the Parent Drop-Off/Pick-up Procedures below, under Covid Procedures.
While most of our construction at Somerset will be complete, there are a few projects that will continue through the fall and into the beginning of the winter. There are also additional projects to be tackled next summer.
- New Gym & Bus Entrance-will be complete around mid-October 2020
- New K entrance, elevator, music room and special education classrooms-complete by January 2021
- New kindergarten classrooms, motor room and corridors-completed Summer 2021.
All students and staff at Somerset will be required to wear face masks when inside of the school building and while riding the school buses. Masks may be removed while outside when social distancing of 6 ft. or more is in effect and while eating or drinking indoors. We will spend the first few weeks of students being on site to review and practice these expectations.
All students are being provided with cloth masks from the state of MN. Additionally, all Somerset students will receive a custom Somerset cloth face masks, funded by our fabulous PTA. The masks (shown in picture) have a Somerset logo and a blank rectangle, where your student's name can be added with a permanent marker. We don't want masks ending up in the Lost & Found, we want them returned to their owners as quickly as possible. Please be sure to label ALL masks your child will be wearing while at school.
Parent Drop-off Procedures
As part of our Covid-19 mitigation efforts, parents driving their children to school at Somerset Elementary must remain in the car for both drop off and pick up. Please do not park your car and approach the school to drop off or pick up your child during our arrival and dismissal times.
Drop-Off: Parents will enter the parent loop from the South driveway of the Somerset parking lot. Follow the lane around to the sidewalk, once you are safely parked next to the curb, your child may hop out of the car and follow the sidewalk down to the main entrance. There will be stars spray painted on the sidewalk to help students visualize the 6 ft. distance while entering the school. There will be several Somerset staff members assisting with parent drop off and greeting students as they enter the building. Parents, please create a drop off routine with your child that does not involve you getting out of your car. We will need to continue to have the line of cars moving through the parking lot. In addition, to help with traffic flow, we ask that all parents plan to exit the Somerset parking lot heading South to alleviate cross traffic if at all possible.
Pick-Up: Enter the parking lot and follow the parent pick up lane along side the sidewalk. We will have students stationed 6 ft. apart as they wait for their rides. Parents will be provided with a Somerset Parent Pick-Up sign to put on your front dash. The sign will have space for your children's names, grades, and teachers. This will give our staff the information necessary to get your child to your car as quickly as possible. Again, please plan to exit the parking lot heading South if at all possible.
Students riding the bus to school must wear masks while riding the bus. Hand sanitizers will also be placed on all busses. Upon arrival at school, all students will remain on the bus until they have been dismissed by a Somerset staff member. We will space out the dismissal of busses to help with social distancing. There will be stars spray painted on the sidewalk as a social distancing visual as well.
Transportation Information & Bus Route Times will be sent out late next week. If you are unsure if you have registered for transportation and would like your children to ride the bus, please call Transportation at 651-403-8320.
Breakfast and Lunch will be consumed in classrooms this school year. Depending on the grade level, lunches will be delivered to the classroom OR students will walk with their class to the cafeteria to pick up their lunches and return to their classrooms.
We will not be able to have the fruit and vegetable bar this school year. Instead, fruits and vegetables will be pre-packaged for students. There will still be both a hot lunch and sandwich options for students each day.
We will also have a touch-free checkout system, so students will not use the keypad to type in their lunch PINs.
Curbside Pick-up will be available to families on the days their children are home for Distance Learning. More information regarding curbside meal pick-up will be shared soon.
Please visit the Child Nutrition website for more information on setting up a lunch account, signing up for free/reduced priced meals, and more!
Students in the Hybrid model will receive 30 minutes of outdoor recess each day. Our recess area is broken up into sections. Each class cohort will be assigned to a certain section of the playground, which will rotate on a daily basis.
Students will not be required to wear masks while outside at recess. We will have recess paraprofessionals supervising recess and helping to teach students to remain social distanced while outdoors. There will be one para outside assigned to each cohort of students.
Each Hybrid student will be assigned their own locker to use while at Somerset. Our lockers for Hybrid group A and Hybrid group B will alternate, allowing for social distancing while at lockers. There will be no sharing of lockers.
Covid Case Notification
When notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving staff or children, we will follow the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health. Their team will complete contact tracing and determine any exposure through close contact (anyone who was within 6 feet of the person who is sick while they were considered to be infectious, for 15 minutes or more, regardless of whether either person wore a cloth face covering or face shield). The individual with the confirmed case will be isolated at home for at least 10 days, and for 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medicine) and improvement of respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) whichever is longer. Anyone with close contact (as defined above) will be guided to stay home for at least 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
Students in school who are demonstrating symptoms (fever of 100.4+, severe headache, sore throat, uncontrolled coughing that causes difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of smell or taste) will be assessed by the school nurse and directed to the “Special Care Zone," an isolated area, until being picked up; the parent/guardian will contact the office upon arrival; the school nurse or designee, wearing personal protective equipment, will escort the student to the car and strongly encourage testing for COVID-19.
Free meals are now available to all children in School District 197 (ages 1-18). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will waive all fees for school meals through December 31, 2020 (or earlier if funding runs out). This is an extension of the summer meals program that provided meals to families throughout distance learning last spring and into the summer. For more information, click here.
How will my student get their free meals?
When learning in-person at school, breakfast and lunch will be available at no cost to students. Students may purchase a carton of milk for $0.50 to go with a breakfast or lunch brought from home, as milk by itself is not free. When learning at home (either as part of hybrid learning or full-time distance learning), a free breakfast and lunch bundle will be available for families to pick up between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at every School District 197 school. Free meals will only be provided for scheduled school days. Meals will not be provided on holidays or scheduled days off. Breakfast and lunch menus are available on the district website. The menus apply to meals served in school and picked up curbside.
Please hang onto the barcoded PIN card you recently received in the U.S. Mail. Students will need these once schools resume normal breakfast and lunch service.
What are the benefits of school meals?
School meals offer students:
- Age-appropriate calorie limits and portion sizes
- Daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (Note: all students must take at least one 1/2 cup serving of fruit/vegetables with their lunch meal and at least 1/2 cup juice or fruit with their breakfast meal)
- White or flavored fat-free milk or 1% white milk
- Whole grain breads, pastas, and grains
- Lean proteins from meat and non-meat sources
- Options with reduced sodium and limited saturated fats
Do I still need to fill out a Free & Reduced Application (FRP) form
Even though meals are free for the first few months of school, you still need to fill out your Free & Reduced Application form. This ensures you’ll have help paying for meals after December 31 (or earlier if funding runs out), and also helps you cover costs for other school-related activities. In addition, it grants our district access to state funding to support our schools. Complete the 2020-2021 Free & Reduced Meal Application online here or request one by calling 651-403-7320.
Please Note: Families MUST fill out a new application for benefits at the beginning of each school year or benefits will expire on October 22, 2020.