2020-2021 Roadmap to Reopening

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Monday, 8/24 2 p.m.

Tuesday, 8/25 12 p.m.

Wednesday, 8/26 1:30 p.m. – Due to technical difficulties, this recording is not available.

Friday, 9/4 11 a.m.

Friday, 9/11 2 p.m.

Friday, 9/18 11 a.m.

Friday, 10/2 10 a.m.

Friday, 10/23 10:30 a.m. – Due to technical difficulties, this recording is not available.

Friday, 11/6 10:30 a.m.

Friday, 11/20 10:30 a.m.

Dear Families,

The summer planning for this school year has truly been like no other. We have had school leaders, staff, and parents working feverishly to open the school. The hard work has primarily been experienced in the development of a plan, safeguarding the school, and reinventing much of our educational systems.

As you know, ERA’s start of school is scheduled at least one week prior to most of the neighboring schools. To be honest and direct, with the number of changes we must implement, we will not be prepared to open school on August 24.  At the Board meeting on August 11, the Board allowed me to postpone school for one week and to follow the 2020-21 Learning Scenario Guide.

The first day of school for Eagle Ridge Academy’s Schools of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric will be August 31, 2020 and we will open in the Hybrid Learning scenario as long as the most recent Minnesota Department of Health data permits.

Our reasons for delaying the start of school include:

1. The timing of Governor Walz’s latest Executive Order;

2. The arrival of necessary technology equipment;

3. The need for additional time for the professional development of our staff to learn about the new technology and safeguard procedures;

4. The extra time needed for students to pick up devices and learning materials.

The Board approved to follow the implementation of the attached 2020-21 Learning Scenario Guide in order to help us determine which learning scenario to be in as a school.  Please notice that the ERA model is more restrictive than the guidelines set forth by the governor.  This more restrictive approach means that ERA would move into the Distance Learning Model sooner than some neighboring schools. This is especially true for the Upper School.

In order to get this school year off to a successful start, we must take the following next steps:

1.  If your family would like to start the school year in our Distance Learning option, you MUST fill out the Request for Distance Learning 2020-21 form by this Friday, August 14. This form is the only way we will know you are opting for Distance Learning. If you do not fill out this form, we will expect you to start the year in Hybrid Learning.  

2. Eagle Ridge Academy will start the school year in a Hybrid Learning scenario with A week (Team Lion) and B week (Team Eagle) cohorts. In-person Learning will occur Monday-Thursday the week of your cohort. At this point, students with last names starting with the letters A-K will be on Team Lion and students with last names starting with the letters L-Z will be on Team Eagle. We will try to stay within these parameters, however, the cohorts are subject to change before the school year begins as families are still choosing our Distance Learning option and we need an accurate accounting of the number of students that will be on campus. 

Additionally, these initial groups currently do not take into account any any considerations. Cohort considerations will be considered in two tiers. Tier 1 requests will be given top priority and will come from families or people who live in the same house that do not share the same last name. Tier 2 consists of requests from families that are either sharing child care during the school year or will be carpooling during the school year. We will do our best to accommodate Tier 2 requests. We will not be taking requests for friends who want to be together. If you have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 request, please fill out the  Request for Consideration in Hybrid Learning form .


3. If your child will require a device for Distance Learning or Hybrid Learning, you must complete the Device Request Form by August 17 to ensure that we will have a device available for you by the start of the school year.

4. If you are a Tier 1 Critical Care Worker requesting child care for your school age children up to 12 years of age, you must complete the Child Care for Tier 1 Critical Workers form by August 17. Your children must attend Eagle Ridge Academy to qualify.

Looking forward to the start of this historic school year,

Jason Ulbrich, Executive Director

Dear Eagle Ridge Academy,

The end of summer is drawing near and the start of school is closer than it appears. Parents across the country wait with anticipation to learn of the manner in which schools will reopen. The range of feelings, opinions, and beliefs are as varying and polarized as I have experienced on any topic. The question being asked: how do we best educate our children, in the safest environment possible, in this COVID reality? Read the newspaper, Facebook, YouTube, or ask a friend who is six feet away in the park, and you will get dozens of answers.

The reality of decision making for the reopening of schools in Minnesota is that the individual schools do not have much flexibility. The number of guidelines and executive orders that we have received limits our decision making ability. In most cases, I am for school level decision making; however, in this situation, I am grateful for the guidance and expertise we are receiving from our leaders.

Eagle Ridge Academy has developed our 2020-2021 Scenario Planning Guide and our 2020-2021 Roadmap to Reopening based upon hundreds of pages of guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), health consultants, and human resource professionals. In addition, we have worked with parent and staff volunteer task force members to develop plans that adhere to those guidelines and repackage them to meet the unique needs of the Academy.  Our task force was basically provided 90 days to reinvent school with ever changing rules in the middle of a pandemic.  And they did an AMAZING job!

The plans are living documents and will be improved throughout the year. We will continue to take ideas and work toward improving education, safety, and social emotional needs for our staff and students. What we will not do as a community, is allow politics to drive our decision making.

Because of the unique needs and concerns of our students, the Academy will provide choices! Families have the option to participate in distance learning or in-person and hybrid learning. Our staff has worked hard to develop ways in which to meet your unique needs. These choices are detailed in our plan. The most important part of the overall plan is the Scenario Planning  Guide. We hired Woodstone Consulting to develop a unique plan for our facility that will best keep our students and staff safe.

Starting July 28, we will hold preliminary feedback sessions for staff and families. The sign up form for feedback sessions will be emailed this afternoon. Please read through the reopening plan and be prepared to share ideas and thoughts. The attached plan is a DRAFT.

Governor Walz is scheduled to announce how schools will open on July 30. The plans that we have developed are 70% complete, and will be finalized as we receive further guidance.

In closing, I ask that all members of the Eagle Ridge Academy community develop a mindset of keeping others safe.

  • Students have a choice if they want to be onsite, our staff has less of a choice. They face risk every day, and we will not tolerate situations that put them in harm’s way. Families need to read the Scenario Planning Guide and determine if they can meet the stated guidelines. If you cannot, please choose the distance learning option.
  • There is a wide spectrum of fear and beliefs in regard to COVID.  Please work to understand and empathize with others’ fears and concerns, even if you don’t agree.

Stay safe,

Jason Ulbrich

Eagle Ridge Academy 2020-2021 School Year Plan
Request for Change in Hybrid or Distance Learning
Eagle Ridge Academy 2020-21 Learning Scenario Data
Eagle Ridge Academy 2020-2021 Scenario Planning Guide
Eagle Ridge Academy 2020-2021 Roadmap to Reopening
Roadmap to Reopening FAQs