Dear AFSA Families,
Exciting news! The AFSA School Board voted unanimously to return to in-person learning fall 2021 for all grades. Many of you have been asking for information about the next school year.
AFSA values in-person learning, hands-on learning, field trips, O-term and J-term, Farm and Community Service Days and so much more. We have not been able to do many of the activities that our students and staff get excited about doing due to COVID related restrictions.
For the fall, grades 8-12 will return to the five period day and the elementary students will be able to change classrooms. More field trips will be available, we will be able to have parents and guests visit for events, and resume our favorite activities!
As a reminder, the current mask guidance and social distancing restrictions are in place through the end of the school year per directives from the Department of Education. As we are provided additional guidance from MDE and MDH we will update our families on changes to our protocols.
We look forward to seeing many of our students in summer school and welcoming everyone back with our school picnics in the fall!
Thank you for being a part of our community!
Dear AFSA Families,
See below for current guidance on masks in schools. Until further updates from the CDC or MN Dept. of Health, masks are still required while in the school buildings and on school buses or vans.
I am forwarding the message schools received from the Commissioner of Education this evening.
Contact me if you have questions.
Dear School Leaders,
This evening, Governor Walz announced an end to the statewide mask requirement. This announcement follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stating that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask. Executive Order 21-23 will be effective immediately upon approval by the Minnesota Executive Council, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow. Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors.
The CDC has not yet provided clear guidance for school settings, but has stated that they expect to update guidance for children in school and summer camps soon. Additionally, our youngest Minnesotans remain ineligible for vaccines and eligibility for 12- to 15-year-olds was just announced this week. As a result, Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect. Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus.
As previously announced, proms, graduations and other end-of-year celebrations should continue to follow the Stay Safe - Entertainment Venue guidance. This guidance will continue to be updated.
We are making great progress in our fight against COVID-19, but our school-age children have been significantly impacted by the virus in recent months, so we must continue to be diligent with health and safety practices through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
Thank you for your continued partnership and leadership,
Heather Mueller, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Education
Dear AFSA Families,
The following is information that the Minnesota Department of Education has asked us to share with our families.
COVID-19 Testing for Families:
MDH has announced a recommendation for all school-age youth returning to school, youth sports, or extracurricular activities, and their families, to get tested every two weeks through the end of the school year. While it is not a requirement, regular testing complements other safety measures already in place, such as masking and social distancing.
Families can find testing information here: COVID-19 Testing for Kids and Families Getting tested every two weeks from now until the end of the school year can help keep schools open and sports operating, and ensure we are limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Student COVID-19 Testing Update: Next AFSA Testing collection is March 23, 2021 and every two weeks thereafter.
Students will now be able to send their Vault-at-Home tests back to the lab through their schools.
How this works:
- Students or families order tests through the Vault-at-Home program (remember tests are no costs to Minnesota residents).
- Students complete their test at home.
- Students seal their sample tube and place it in the biohazard bag. The biohazard bag then gets sealed in the shipping bag that came with the test. The shipping label sticker is attached to the bag.
- Students bring their sealed shipping bag with the shipping label to school on your designated onsite testing day.
To help students comply with MDH’s bi-weekly testing guidance and use at-home tests as a screening tool:
- Students should test on the same schedule as staff
- Students will need to have a Vault-at-Home kit on hand at home to complete and bring to school on staff testing day. Test must be completed at home.
- Once students receive notice that their sample is being processed at the lab, they can order another Vault-at-Home kit for the next screening day.
Spring Break Reminders
The CDC has published guidance on domestic and international travel during COVID-19, stating they recommend no travel at this time given that it increases the change of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC has also published a recommendation for after you travel which recommends individuals get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if the test comes back negative.
For this reason, schools are encouraged to communicate CDC’s post-travel recommendations,
Considerations before traveling:
Given the high level of COVID-19 spread in our communities, any unnecessary travel is highly discouraged. If you must travel outside the state or country for work, study, medical care, or personal safety and security, do what you can to protect yourself and your family.
Before you travel, think about:
- How much COVID-19 is spreading where you are going and how much it is spreading in your local community.
- Whether you or someone you are traveling with could get very sick from COVID-19.
- How easy or difficult it will be to keep 6 feet between people.
- Whether you would be able to miss work, school, or other activities if you get sick.
- For more tips and things to consider when traveling, see CDC: Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Travel to or from Minnesota:
- If you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, do not travel.
Out-of-state travel is highly discouraged.
- People who visit Minnesota, and Minnesotans returning after traveling out of state, are asked to stay away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after they arrive in Minnesota. During those 14 days, it is important that you stay home and watch for symptoms. If you must go out, wear a mask, stay 6 feet from other people, and wash your hands often.
- Staying away from others for 14 days is safest. In some circumstances, a shortened quarantine period may be possible.
- If you are close to someone with COVID-19 during travel, follow guidelines for how long to keep away from others (quarantine).
- For information on testing, visit Getting Tested for COVID-19.
- Review the CDC's After You Travel webpage.
Visit CDC: Travel for more information about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay safe! We will see you soon!
Dear AFSA Families;
We are excited to announce that all students will have the opportunity to return to school in person full time after Spring Break.
K-4 students are already back in school, grades 5-12 will return on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. The School Board reviewed and discussed the school's learning plan and made the decision at their meeting yesterday.
To help staff plan the following days will be used:
No live or online classes for grades K-7 on Friday, March 5, 2021. No in person or online classes. Day Care will be open.
No live or online classes for grades 8-12 on Monday, March 8 and Friday March 12. The Elementary building will be open for K-4 on these days.
Information requests were emailed to families and school staff have been calling anyone we have not heard from. We have asked families to select in-person learning or distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Due to the nature of the planning, assigned seating, bus routes, scheduling and other details that are required to reopen, all decisions are final at this time.
It is extremely helpful if you are able to transport your child to and from school. Bus capacity is limited due at this time. We are providing as much transportation as our buses and vans can handle.
Bus stops and times will be emailed and posted on our website the week of March 8 or earlier if possible to give you plenty of time to prepare.
The School Board also voted to go ahead with Spring Sports of Baseball and Softball. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible - those families should watch their email for more information.
I have attached the updated FAQ to this email. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Enjoy the warm weather and we are looking forward to filling more classrooms with our students!
Academy for Sciences & Agriculture
Dear AFSA Families,
As we continue to plan to bring more students back into the building, we want to remind everyone to fill out the information request form we first sent out last week. A huge THANK YOU to those who have filled it out already!
We know we are asking a lot of you in a short time, so we put together a set of Frequently Asked Questions to help you make your decision. The are attached at the bottom of this email. We have included a checklist that may be helpful to you as well.
We need this information as quickly as possible so we can plan appropriately for the number of students who will be returning in person. Please read the forms carefully and fill out completely, no later than Monday, February 22, 2021.
Please fill out one form for each student you have at AFSA and fill out the form for the appropriate grade level only.
Form for grades 5-7
Information request grades 5-7
Form for grades 8-12
A current copy of the MDH decision tree referred to in the FAQ is attached for your review.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Thank you for your help!
Academy for Sciences & Agriculture
Dear AFSA families,
As we prepare to bring more students back to school in-person, we want to remind you of the following procedures we have put in place:
We will ask all parents who are sending students to in-person learning to sign a form outlining the health expectations for students. We will ask that parents monitor their child(ren) for Covid symptoms daily before sending students to school. If any symptoms occur, you will need to keep your child at home. Please contact the school in this case so we can help provide guidance on how many days to keep them home, or the testing/return options for each situation. We also ask that you notify us if your student tests positive for COVID so we can begin the contact tracing process.
- Fever (100.4 F or higher)
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- New loss of taste or smell
AFSA will continue to monitor students for symptoms during the school day, including temperature checks as needed, and we will contact parents quickly if symptoms are noticed.
Please note that many cases of Covid are asymptomatic (no visible symptoms) so we are relying on parents and caregivers to monitor symptoms at home as well as the contacts and possible exposure outside of school.
If a COVID case occurs in the school, we will work with the MN Department of Health to identify and notify those people who had close contact with the person who has COVID-19. We will notify anyone identified as close contacts as soon as possible and outline a plan for quarantine as needed. If you are not contacted, your child is not considered a close contact and the risk of exposure for them is considered to be no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community. We will contact the school community by email if we have a case in the building, details of any positive case are private and we are unable to share any specific information. The risk of exposure for the other people present in the building on those dates is no greater than the risk of contracting the virus in the general community.
Please wear your masks, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and stay safe!
Dear AFSA Families,
As you may know, yesterday the Governor announced a change in the regulations schools must follow when making decisions about reopening.
There are no changes to how the data is used for middle and high school students at this time, however, with the new regulations schools can now use additional factors in deciding whether elementary students can return in person to school.
AFSA's school board met on Tuesday, December 15th, and approved a plan to return to hybrid learning for K-2 students on February 1st. We are working on plans to bring more students back to school.
AFSA staff are looking at the new guidance from the State and will be sending K-4 families a survey to help guide further decisions for the elementary school. This survey will help determine whether there are additional students that could start hybrid learning and what our families need when determining the best plan for our students.
Additional grades will be surveyed later as we learn more and work to develop the plan to bring additional grades back to school safely. Your feedback is essential! We are grateful for the involvement of parents with donations, questions, surveys, serving on our School Board and the many ways that families are supporting AFSA students during this pandemic.
We will continue to monitor the guidance from the Governor, MN Dept. of Education and MN Dept. of Health as we move forward with our plans.
You can monitor the health data being used for older grades here: https://jwolfson.shinyapps.io/school_openings/
It is being recommended by the Governor and Commissioner of Education that school staff get tested regularly for COVID, and AFSA will be participating in the program for in-house testing that they are setting up. This will be instrumental in the re-opening process and having the information necessary to inform our school leaders of necessary plan changes. Families can access free COVID testing as well.
This is a link to free community testing sites:
This is a link to order free saliva testing kits:
Thank you for your continued support of our school and community.
Dear AFSA Families,
This is a brief update on the AFSA Fall 2020 Learning Plan.
At the September school board meeting, they discussed the health data and criteria for bringing more students into the building in a hybrid situation this fall. Additional data and plans will be provided at the October School Board meeting. If the health data continues to improve, the board will consider what if any grades will be added to the Hybrid Learning Plan.
At this time, Distance Learning will continue for all students in grades 3-12 and Hybrid Learning for grades K-2.
What we are trying to avoid is making any sudden changes. We do not want to change everyone to a new learning plan and then the health data trend reverses and we have to make a quick change to a new learning plan. We want to be consistent with our plan as much as we can.
We do hope we can be in person at some point this school year.
Dear AFSA Families,
We are so happy you are with us this year! It is exciting to see faces again, a few in the building with our youngest students and many online in virtual classrooms. We hope the plans for this first week are helping you get to know your teachers and make sure you can connect.
Watch your email tomorrow afternoon for the newsletter from your child's teachers. Each cohort is preparing an electronic newsletter for their students. These will be out each week on Friday. If you have more than one child, you will receive an email for each child. We hope these are helpful to you!
You can find information on our website about our plan and schedules here:
A few updates and reminders:
Food Service: All AFSA students are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch delivered to your home. Deliveries are Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri from about 8:30 to noon. The meals are free through a grant from the USDA until December. Contact the High School office at 651-209-3910 if you want to be added to or taken off the delivery list.
Technology: If you do not have a tablet or laptop for your child to connect to their online learning, please contact us at 651-209-3910. We have Chromebooks that we can loan to your family while your child is enrolled with us during this school year.
Internet Service: Comcast has Internet Essentials for $9.95 per month. Information can be found here: https://www.
Health and Safety: Please see the Dept of Health Decision Tree that is attached at the end of this email. We ask that you follow this if you have students coming into the building. Staff are following this plan as well.
Do not hesitate to email me questions. I will answer or send your question on to the correct person!
Dear AFSA Families,
I hope your students are excited about getting back to school! Many of you have been contacted regarding various services such as lunch delivery, technology, or day care services. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Plan to attend our Drive-Through Back To School Events:
At each school, families may drive through the parking lots. Teachers and staff will be greeting students and handing out goody bags that will include school supplies and a surprise gift! Teachers will be located by cohort so you can easily find your child’s teachers for a socially distant introduction. Hot dogs and chips will be served to each family that attends. Schedules will be available as well.
Elementary School (all students grades K-7), Tuesday, Sept 1, from 4-6 pm
High School (all students grades 8-12), Thursday, Sept 3, from 4-6 pm
All students in grades 3-12 will be Distance Learning. Students in grades K, 1 and 2 have the option of half days or Distance Learning. Bus schedules for those needing transportation will be out next week. Class schedules for those in distance learning will also be out next week and will be handed out at the Drive Through events and emailed to students and parents.
Free/Reduced Lunch forms:
Letters with student information and the form for Educational Benefits (Free and Reduced Lunch form) were mailed this past week. The form is also attached again to this email. Please use your current income to fill out the forms. The income limits change each year, you may qualify now even if you have not in the past.
We need this form from all families, whether you qualify or not. If you do not qualify, please put your child's name and write "Do Not Qualfiy" across the form.
Health and Safety Updates:
AFSA has followed all best practices regarding cleaning our buildings. We have had the HVAC systems evaluated and repaired as needed. Student-safe hand sanitizer is available in all rooms. Teachers and staff have been provided the safety equipment they need. Each room and vehicle has hospital grade disinfectant available for staff to use when cleaning. A bottle filling station has been added in each building, all staff and students are encouraged to bring their own fillable water bottle. Signage is being put up reminding everyone of the new procedures and how to reduce the risk of becoming ill. Masks are available for staff and students who need them. There is currently a mask mandate in MN, so masks are required for students and staff in the building. We are following the guidelines from the MN Dept of Health.
Watch for more updates next week and the first day of school is September 8, 2020!
Dear AFSA Families;
We are excited to provide you more information about our Learning Plan for Fall 2020. We believe we have developed a plan that takes into account the feedback from last year and what we have learned about Distance Learning over the summer. We look forward to working with your students this fall!
AFSA is offering Hybrid or Distance Learning for Grades K, 1 and 2 and Distance Learning only for Grades 3-12 to start the school year.
At this time, Ramsey County does not qualify for in-person learning. We will be using the information from the Minnesota Department of Health in monitoring and adjusting our school’s plan.
The school board will review health data and the school's plan each month to determine if any changes will be made. AFSA will communicate with parents after each board meeting to keep you informed of the process. We will also survey parents as needed as we go through this school year to ensure the academic and social emotional needs of our students are being met to the best of our abilities.
Please review the attached plan. If you have not filled out the online survey at this time, please call the school’s office and they will take your information.
Elementary School (grades K-7): 612-260-2662
High School (grades 8-12): 651-209-3910
We have also attached school supply lists for you to review. Information about specific schedules for your student will be provided in the next few days. You can review the sample schedule in the Learning Plan attachment for an idea of what your child's day will hold.
Watch your mail next week for important forms including the Application for Educational Benefits (Free/Reduced Lunch form). It is important that all families fill this out as soon as they can.
SAVE THE DATE: We are hosting Back to School Drive-Through events on Tuesday, September 1 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Elementary Building and on Thursday, September 3 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the High School. At each school, families may drive through the parking lots. Teachers and staff will be greeting students and handing out goody bags that will include school supplies and a surprise gift! Teachers will be located by cohort so you can easily find your child’s teachers for a socially distant introduction. Hot dogs and chips will be served to each family that attends.
Thank you for being on this journey with us.