About Learning Model Changes

Considerations for Learning Model Change

December 17. 2020 Update

Return to Elementary In Person Learning

Farmington Area Public Schools has created this resource to assist our Incident Command Team as we consider a change in learning model for our Pre K-Grade 5 learners.

The Why
Governor Tim Walz announced significant changes to the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan. The updated plan prioritizes the needs of our youngest learners by allowing full-time in-person learning at the pre-k and elementary level regardless of county case rate data so long as schools are able to comply with new comprehensive health and safety measures.

Guidance Change
MDH/MDE knows much more about how COVID-19 interacts within schools than they did in July when guidelines were originally introduced. They have been able to gather information from schools that have remained in-person over the last 3 months

Transmission in schools primarily happens between adults and not between learners and adults or between learners
In both hospitals and schools who have remained in-person, even with high county COVID numbers, transmission is more likely to happen between adults where six feet of physical distancing and proper wearing of a face covering are not adhered to. 
Mirrors our experiences with quarantines due to close contacts within our buildings
0 confirmed cases within ISD 192 associated with quarantine due to being a close contact within our buildings/activities
Age 10 and under are less susceptible to and less likely to transmit COVID-19
4. Distance Learning is more difficult for this group of learners
Transmission is less about surface spread
New Quarantine Guidance
14-Day = household close contact
10-Day = non-household close contact (7-Day Option)

Additional Health and Safety Measures

  • Implement a rolling start with learners gradually re-introduced back into buildings. — Only 3 grades can be introduced into a building at a time. — 2 weeks are required between adding additional grade levels to buildings.
  • Execute bi-weekly COVID-19 testing program for staff (staff participation is optional)
  • Staff present in school buildings are required to wear a face shield in addition to their face coverings when interacting with others (learners and staff). The face shield should cover the forehead, extend below the chin anteriorly and to the ears laterally. In addition, MDH recommends for optimal protection, there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
  • Face coverings must be worn by learners when engaging in indoor physical activities.
  •  When possible add a clear barrier between learners and adults for small group and individual instruction when staff cannot be 6 feet from learners.
  • For all early learning and elementary all meals may be eaten in the cafeteria if 6 feet of physical distancing can be maintained, otherwise meals must be eaten in classrooms.
  •  Physical education class may continue to be held indoors, outside of individual classrooms, so long as students and staff are wearing face coverings.
  •  Elementary specialists may be held outside of individual classrooms if they are able to follow the specific guidance around music activities and art classes.
  • For in-person models three feet of physical distancing is strongly recommended between learners during primary instruction.
  • Elementary learners remain in classroom pods throughout the school day — Student support programs such as special education, EL, and counseling may continue to pull students from their primary classroom in order to provide these essential support services.
  • Staff maintain six feet of physical distancing from learners whenever possible.
  • Staff maintain six feet of physical distancing from other staff.

November 4, 2020 Update

Farmington Area Public Schools has created this resource to assist our Incident Command Team when considering a change in learning models.  The data points will be referenced when looking to move to a less or more restrictive model at a building, level (elementary or secondary) or an entire district.  As part of the process we will be consulting with our Metro Regional Support Team. 

The Metro Regional Support Team is a partnership between local public health officials, MDE, MDH and the Minnesota Service Cooperatives to support school districts and charter schools in navigating the impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic throughout the 2020-2021 school year. 

The team will have four members: a regional coordinator from the service cooperative, two MDH health consultants and a state COVID-19 testing coordinator.  Farmington Area Public Schools has worked closely with this team to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on our current learning model (Hybrid Learning K-12).

The Metro Regional Support Team support districts by providing:

  • Consultative support from MDH related to shifting learning models.
  • Guidance and actions steps when there are COVID cases, close contacts or exposures in schools.
  • Information and assistance related to both individual testing (including the saliva test for educators and staff) and mass/universal testing events.

A State Support Team will guide the regional team structure. The State Support Team includes Stephanie Graff (Lead), Cliff Carmody (MN Service Coops), Sally Reynolds (State Testing Group), and Susan Klammer (MDH).

How do schools determine their 

safe learning plan model?

From June through August 2020, Farmington Area Public Schools engaged staff, students, and community members in preparing for three learning models:  In person, hybrid, and distance learning.  Given county data, we started the school year in hybrid learning for all students K-12. We have continuously monitored the impact of Covid-19 in our schools and believe we may need to consider an adjustment in our learning model indicated in STEP 5 below:

Step 5: Public schools and MDH will monitor the community and school-level impact of COVID-19 on a regular basis. Adjustments will be mde to the learning model if needed.

*This graphic is a part of Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year. 


Dakota County has seen an increase in the 14 day Covid-19 case rate for the last five consecutive weeks (9/6 through 10/27) with a current positive test rate of 6.2%.  Anything over 5% is considered an indicator of high community transmission.


*This graphic is a part of Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year. 


Data Considerations


Hyperlinks Below


Dakota County 14 Day Case Rate

Dakota County 14 Day Case Rate

This data shows the number of cases by county of residence in Minnesota over 14 days, per 10,000 people by the date of specimen collection (when a person was tested).

Dakota County COVID-19 Statistics

Dakota County COVID-19 Statistics

This Dakota County site compiles data in a variety of formats including the city of Farmington and surrounding areas. 

Minnesota School Opening Statistics Dashboard

Minnesota School Opening Statistics Dashboard

The key metric recommended for quantifying community transmission for each county is the total number of cases over the past 14 days per 10,000 residents. In addition to county case data, this site allows users to analyze school district level data by zip code.

ISD 192 Covid-19 Dashboard

ISD 192 Covid-19 Dashboard

The Farmington Area Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard, which tracks various data to help inform operation decisions, is also made available to the community on a weekly basis.

Staffing Analysis

Staffing Analysis

A key metric to consistently monitor is our ability to maintain staffing support when ISD 192 employees are unable to work with learners due to illness of themselves or family members. 

Safe Learning Model Dashboard

Safe Learning Model Dashboard

This site communicates the current learning models for all school districts in the state of Minnesota, including those that share a common border.

ISD 192 Incident Command Team Meetings

  • August 6, 2020
  • September 23, 2020
  • November 5, 2020
  • November 13, 2020
  • December 1, 2020
  • December 29, 2020

Current Learning Model for Farmington Area Public Schools

Hybrid Learning for all students K-12.  (August 2020-Current)

Proposed Learning Model for Farmington Area Public Schools:

Recommendation from the Regional Support Team is to continue our current hybrid model through November 20 with another consultation on November 16 to determine the appropriate learning model for after Thanksgiving break.

Metrics to continue to monitor:

  • County MDH 14-Day Case Rate Number 
  • County Positivity Rate
  • Staff Availability
    — Staff Quarantine - 10% of a building
    — Unfilled vacancies
  • Student Quarantine - 5% of a hybrid learners
  • Close contacts within our buildings/bus/activities - how well are our mitigation measures working
  • Confirmed cases reported to MDE