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2019-20 Comprehensive Distance Learning Plan

Update as of April 23, 2020: Per Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-41, the Distance Learning Period for Minnesota schools will extend through the end of the school calendar year. For Orono Schools, the last scheduled day is Wednesday, June 3, 2020. 

Additional Non-School Days: Friday, May 1 and Monday, May 4 have been designated by the governor as teacher/staff planning days for Extended Distance Learning. Students will neither receive additional distance learning assignments nor be required to complete attendance procedures. The district will also observe Monday, May 25, Memorial Day, as a non-school day. 

The Distance Learning Plan. Orono Schools has prepared a distance learning plan that will allow for meaningful, relevant learning to take place while schools are closed. Students will be engaged in high-quality lessons utilizing a distance learning model for every level in grades PreK-8 and meeting graduation requirements in courses for grades 9-12.

Distance Learning (Support Website, Device Repair, Internet Access, Materials)

Distance Learning (Support Website, Device Repair, Internet Access, Materials)

Support Website

Orono Schools has created a Distance Learning support website that provides detailed information about learning processes, tools, expectations, and support systems for staff, students, and families. The following topics are specifically addressed:


All students in the Orono School District have a personal learning device. Some students are using a school-owned device and others have purchased their own device through the Orono PLUS program.

Repair or replacement of school-owned device

During our extended closure, we know that there will be times when a school-owned device may not function properly in order for a student to complete their distance learning work. Issues could range from a cracked screen to broken keys to poor battery performance. To begin the repair/replacement process, please:

Contact a Mobile Device Specialist

  • Orono Intermediate School, Orono Middle School and Orono High School:
    If you have an issue with a school-owned Chromebook, please contact Andy Smith:

If your Mobile Device Specialist determines that your device needs to be replaced, he will prepare a device for you that can be swapped for the current device that you are using.

Device pickup, if needed

During the governor’s stay-at-home order (currently through Friday, April 10), device pickup will be in coordination with our meal service.

When: Mondays and Wednesdays
Times: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: Orono Intermediate School, 685 Old Crystal Bay Rd N, Long Lake, MN

If families are unable to access that process, alternative delivery methods are available through the district’s family liaison, Donna Ostvig, Integration and Engagement Coordinator: or telephone 612-217-2110

Internet Access

All students in Orono Schools have access to the internet through a family account or through hot spots provided by the district. Orono Schools will continue communicating with families to ensure reliable internet connectivity. Additional resources and support are available on the Distance Learning support website.

Materials and resources

Instruction will be delivered in a variety of digital and non-digital formats. Schoology (3-12) or Seesaw (K-2) will be the primary learning management platforms for students in Orono Schools. Other online resources may also be used, including Google Classroom, textbook publisher resources, and other vendor-developed materials. The Orono Digital Learning support website includes parent and student resources and contact information for support staff.

If students need additional instructional materials, they can pick up those materials during the days/times established for meal pick up (see the schedule under the Nutrition Services tab on this webpage).

If families are unable to access that process, alternative delivery methods are available through the district’s family liaison, Donna Ostvig, Integration and Engagement Coordinator: or telephone 612-217-2110.

Daily Learning Expectations

Daily Learning Expectations

Teachers will post learning activities and expectations by 9 a.m. daily and will be available to students during regularly scheduled school hours. Teachers will respond to student and parent inquiries within 24 hours. Notification and communication will be done through Seesaw (K-2) or Schoology (3-12).

Students are expected to log in and engage in daily learning in each class. Specific expectations will be communicated by teachers for each class, including new content and feedback on prior learning. Daily learning expectations and course units of instruction will be aligned with established learning targets, district curricular expectations, and state and national academic standards. Families are encouraged to develop a home routine for learning, breaks, and other activities that works for all family members.

Attendance, Absences and Truancy


Student attendance: Attendance will be taken through an online form in Seesaw (K-2) or Schoology (3-12). When students log in each day, the first activity should be to complete that form. Students who do not mark themselves as present by 7 p.m. that day will be marked absent. Students may demonstrate attendance by showing engagement in distance learning assignments for that day, showing progress or turning in assigned work. 

Staff will monitor daily attendance to stay connected and ensure supports are provided, if needed.

  • For students in grades K-2, attendance will be demonstrated by completing a daily morning meeting activity in Seesaw.
  • For grades 3-5, students will log in to Schoology and complete a daily attendance form in their Schoology Homeroom page
  • For grades 6-8, students will log in to Schoology and complete a daily attendance form in their 4th hour Schoology page
  • For grades 9-12, students will log in to Schoology and complete a daily attendance form in either their 3rd hour or 4th hour Schoology page

Staff attendance: Employees will not report to, or work at, school facilities during school closure unless their specific job responsibility requires presence in the buildings. For example, custodians are working their regularly scheduled shifts. Teachers will record unavailability for work through regular procedures. Contact if you have questions.


Parents and students should follow normal procedures by calling attendance lines for absences due to illness or other reasons. Attendance office staff from each school will monitor and record attendance, and follow up with students who are marked absent.


Truancy shall be monitored by attendance clerks, principals, and counseling and mental health staff.

School Counselors

Orono Schools’ counselors, guidance and mental health support staff are available to assist all students. Families should not hesitate to reach out if children are having difficulty coping with news of the pandemic, feeling alone, needing strategies for distance learning, or experiencing stress. Counselors can also refer families to outside resources, if needed. (For more information, see the “School Nurse, School Psychologist, Social Worker, SLP” section on this webpage.)

Elementary and Intermediate schools:
Contact: Schumann Elementary and Intermediate School Guidance and Mental Health support

Orono Middle School counselors:
Lisa Treml, School Counselor:

Jennifer Lubke, 8th Grade Academic Advisor:
952-449-8338 ext. 4211

Orono High School counselors:
High school counselors will also continue to work with students on college and career readiness opportunities during the distance learning period. 

Shana Borgen Gr:9-12 (A-Ha)

Kayte Haagenson Gr:9-12 (He-N)

Jamie Menne Gr:9-12 (O-Z)



This Distance Learning plan emphasizes high-quality teaching and learning practices that are supported by effective assessment for learning methods. Classroom-based assessment for learning is a priority over standardized achievement test preparation and administration. The Minnesota Department of Education has been granted a waiver from mandated federal accountability tests including the MCA and MTAS assessments. Orono Schools’ local standardized achievement tests are postponed pending further direction from the governor on school closure. The College Board is offering remote resources and developing a plan for remote Advanced Placement (AP) testing. Further information is available at the AP website.

Formative and summative classroom assessment will align with effective practice (William, 2010). Within-unit assessment practices will include the following: clearly articulating learning targets, engaging in activities that elicit evidence of learning, teacher feedback, peer support for learning, and student ownership of their own learning. Summative grades will be based on established learning targets. Grading and assessments may be modified for students to fit the distance learning model of delivery. Grading for students in grades 6-12 will continue to be communicated to students and parents through Studentvue/Parentvue.

Child Care for Children of Emergency Workers

Child Care Availability

Child care is available for children of healthcare and emergency personnel ages 4-12 so that parents may go to work to provide critical services. This care will be provided from 6:30 a.m.–6 p.m. beginning March 30 at the Student Center in Long Lake. This notice has been posted on the district website and through other media to provide information to all emergency workers. Please click here to register online.


Child care during school hours (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) is provided free of charge. Child care provided before (6:30-9 a.m.) or after (4-6 p.m.) school hours will be $26/day. School lunches will be served. The schedule will allow for school-age children to participate in learning activities assigned by their classroom teacher.

This care is being organized by the Orono Community Education School Age Care program with support from paraprofessionals and other Orono Schools staff during school hours. Please click here to register online.

Nutrition for Students in Need (Meals and Distribution)

Nutrition Services for Students in Need

Meals are available for children in need, ages 18 years and younger. To minimize contact for families and staff, we have set up two locations where we will distribute meals. Monday distribution will include meals for two days. Wednesday distribution will include meals for three days and the option for weekend packs provided by Sheridan Story.


  • Breakfasts will consist of a breakfast grain/entree, fruit juice, and milk
  • Lunches will include an entree, fruit, vegetable, and milk

Meal Distribution Days, Time and Locations

Mondays: Meal distribution (both locations) for Monday and Tuesday meals
Wednesdays: Meal distribution (both locations) for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday meals plus a Sheridan Story bag, if desired.

Beginning Monday, May 18:

  • Orono High School | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    795 Old Crystal Bay Rd N, Long Lake, MN
  • Maple Plain Community Church | 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
    1815 Budd Ave N, Maple Plain, MN

Memorial Day: Please note that meal pick-up service will not be available on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25; however, we will provide five days of meals on Wednesday, May 20.

Health and Wellness - Disease Prevention

Disease Prevention

The health and wellness of our students, families and staff is our first priority. Orono School’s District Nurse and administrators work closely with Hennepin County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Public Health to contain influenza and other infectious diseases. Orono Schools has excellent channels of communication with local emergency response agencies across the district, and will provide accurate and helpful information.

Some ways that you can stay healthy include:

  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching illnesses.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of the tissue. When a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow. Wash your hands immediately after.
  • Wash hands frequently under clean, running water and for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects at home, work or school.
  • Clean devices (iPads, laptops) that you touch frequently like you do for all high-use areas in homes.
  • If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol.

The following resources will help you understand COVID-19 and steps you can take to protect yourself and your family:

Mental Health Support Resources

Mental Health Support Resources

The impact of a school closure often goes beyond academics.  The stress of COVID-19 and school closure can increase the worry and anxiety of students, staff, families, and communities. The following resources and tips can be used by school staff, families and students to protect the health and well-being of members of our community.

Talking to Children about COVID-19

Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, a child’s anxiety may rise. Adults should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy. Children also need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness and risk of disease, so the focus of conversation should be concrete instructions about how to avoid infections and the spread of disease. Teaching children positive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infections can help reduce anxiety.  Additional information and specific guidelines can be found at: Talking to Children about COVID-19.

Bullying and Harassment

COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. Orono Schools staff is mindful that bullying, or harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, or disability (including the actual disability of being infected with COVID-19 or perception of being infected) may result in a violation of school policy, state and federal civil rights laws.  In distance learning, Orono School staff will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate and respond to any report of bullying or harassment. If parents and families believe their child has experienced bullying or harassment related to the COVID-19 outbreak or other issues, students and/or parents should contact their school principal, per typical school process.

Telehealth resources

  • Relate Counseling: “If you are a current client you can connect with your therapist directly or new clients can call 952-932-7277. We offer telehealth which may include audio phone, video phone, or video conferencing.”
  • Hennepin County Mobile Crisis Team: 612-348-2233
  • Birch Counseling open for teletherapy appointments: 866-522-2472

Additional Resources

The following resources can help schools and families provide supports for students:

Special Services/Special Education

Addressing the needs of Special Education students

Orono Schools will continue to meet the needs of individual learners in a distance learning environment. The specific needs of each special education student are outlined in the individual education plans (IEPs) and regulated under state and federal law, consideration of special needs for continuity of learning. 504 plans will also continue to be implemented with legally required accommodations. For all students in need of support, Orono Schools will review the efficacy of distance learning plans and approaches, and consider alternative or additional support needs as part of that review. This will also include monitoring emerging guidance or recommendations on supporting students and implementing changes as appropriate. The following guidelines will apply:

Special Education and 504

Guidance from both MDE (Minnesota Department of Education) and OSEP (U.S. Department of Special Education):

  • IEPs and 504 plans will continue to be implemented in a distance learning environment. IEP teams may choose to amend an IEP given unique differences for learners in distance education. Accommodation procedures may be modified to align with distance learning protocols and tools.
  • Special education teachers are responsible for specialized instruction that includes both guided and independent practice.
  • Special education teachers will continue to provide consultation with general education teachers on accommodations and modifications for specific students.
  • IEP and 504 meetings will be held by remote access through Google Meet, Zoom or other electronic means to review IEP goals and services.
  • Orono Schools will complete evaluations that can be completed by remote means, and are awaiting guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education for completion of both new referrals and evaluations already in process that need direct contact with students.
  • Materials and devices have been distributed for specific learners. Special education staff are creating learning materials to be delivered by paper packets, worksheets, phone calls, book buckets, email, educational apps, online subscriptions, and/or through SeeSaw or Schoology.  
  • Special education staff will continue to support progress monitoring, data analysis, grading, Behavior Intervention Plans, transition planning between buildings, and curricular modification for general education classes.

School Nurse, School Psychologist, Social Worker, SLP

Related Services

Related services will continue via email, google meeting, and phone calls to students, parents and staff. Staff will provide activities and lessons to meet service requirements via electronic platforms. Staff will also continue to communicate with principals, consult with classroom teachers, parents, and/or district administration for support needed. Health staff will complete tasks that require immediate attention and ensure guidelines/recommendations are up to date for the protection of the school community. Health staff will also review and revise individual and emergency health plans and monitor school attendance and student health (as needed and indicated).

Mental health support staff will develop social emotional learning lessons remotely, as well as organize and prepare for upcoming evaluation procedures, support students and families who may not be attending remotely, and provide direct services by phone, emails, google meet, and video instruction. Support staff will additionally coordinate with outside agencies for food security and meeting other needs.

ELL - English Language Learner

English Language Learner (ELL) Services

ELL services will continue for students, as well as collaboration with classroom teachers for scaffolding regular curriculum. Translation needs will continue to be provided for learners (Google translate for communication with families). Direct service will be provided through a variety of means, including learning packets, LMS, phone, emails, and Google Meet. Newly enrolled students will be screened for services.

Early Learning

Early Learning

Orono’s Early Learning  program is dedicated to providing education to children and families during the distance learning period. Staff are collaborating on the best way to continue providing education and a classroom community for children and their families.

Beginning March 30, 2020, families currently enrolled in PreK and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes will receive weekly email communication from their child’s teacher. This communication will include activities intentionally planned to highlight the importance of learning through play and everyday activities and are tied to Minnesota’s Early Learning Standards. In addition, teachers are working on other ways to maintain contact. These will be communicated directly to families in each class.

ECFE parent education will be provided online during regularly scheduled class time. Communication regarding the schedule and delivery method will be sent to registered families.



Orono Schools uses the School Messenger broadcast system to deliver frequent communication updates via email and voice messaging (when needed). If you are not receiving email communication from the district, please take the following steps:

  1. Log in to ParentVUE to make sure that your contact information is current  (click here for instructions) and that your email address is linked to an account you check frequently.
  2. Check your spam/junk folder and make sure is accepted.
  3. Contact or telephone 952-449-8315

Email archive:

Social media: The district manages a Facebook page and a Twitter account. These will be used to repeat school closing and other important messages.

Local news media: School closing announcements will be posted on local news media sites: KARE11, WCCO, KMSP Fox-9

School/Teacher Communication

  1. Teachers will communicate with students via Seesaw (grades K-2) or Schoology (grades 3-12)
  2. Students and families may also receive email from a school principal, classroom teacher, counselor or other staff member.
  3. Students in grades 6-12 should check their school-issued email accounts. 

How will students be able to retrieve their belongings from school (from lockers, etc.)?

  • Students were allowed to retrieve essential items from their lockers on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If additional access dates/times are made available, that information will be shared with students and families.

Student Information System

A student’s profile is added to Synergy, Orono’s Student Information System, when a parent or guardian enrolls their child. Contact: Marcia Zajac, Administrative Assistant, Business Services, or telephone 952-449-8308.

Language Access

Email messages, information about emergency workers’ child care options, and details about the nutrition services plan are being translated and delivered in Spanish. Donna Ostvig, Integration and Engagement Coordinator, is the district’s family liaison: or telephone 612-217-2110.

Contracted Services

Orono Schools staff are communicating and planning with service providers who support nutrition services, transportation, etc. Contact John Morstad 952-449-8306, Director of Business Services, who manages the district’s finances, food service program, facilities and transportation.

Activities and Athletics

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has suspended all activities at this time. All after-school programming and activities have also been suspended until further notice. All activity and athletic endeavors are canceled until in-person, traditional school resumes (date to be determined by the governor). This suspension includes practices, captains’ practices, meetings, groups, or gatherings for any purpose. The Minnesota State High School League also offers clear direction and updates on their website.

PSEO - Post Secondary Education Options

Orono Schools’ PSEO students will resume any courses in which they are enrolled through alternative delivery methods including online and other formats that support safe social distancing.

Students who plan to enroll in PSEO during the 2020-2021 school year must notify the districts or charter schools of their intent to enroll by May 30, 2020. Please contact your school counselor at Orono High School by email or phone for more information.

For MDE additional guidance for PSEO students, access COVID-19 Guidance for PSEO and Concurrent Enrollment Students. Or, access guidance from PSEO postsecondary systems: Minnesota State colleges and universities or University of Minnesota.

Housing Instability - Homelessness

Housing Instability – Homelessness

Students experiencing homelessness face unique barriers to effective distance learning, including limited availability of technology and living situations that do not support doing homework (e.g., in a car). The Orono Schools distance learning plan will satisfy the federal requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, to support homeless students and promote their full participation in their education throughout the duration of the distance learning period.

Orono Schools has designated key staff who coordinate homeless-specific responses at the district or school level. They plan to:

  • Monitor evolving and emerging recommendations specifically pertaining to homeless students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Assess the living situations, needs, and other characteristics for students flagged as experiencing homelessness in their student record. Staff will help triage where the greatest support will be needed for these students to fully participate in distance learning.
  • Determine how existing or alternative transportation options could be deployed to meet basic student needs that would normally be met at school, such as delivery of meals, educational materials, devices and/or other resources.
  • Anticipate increased student support needs related to anxiety and trauma related to the pandemic.
  • Monitor participation and engagement of homeless students in distance learning (e.g., including both attendance and performance) as a distinct group, to help guide whether additional staff support, engagement, or assistance are needed for students experiencing homelessness.

Tribal Considerations

Orono Schools Distance Learning provides a unique and important opportunity to meet the needs of all Minnesotans at this time. The Orono Schools do not currently have Tribal leaders, city and county governmental agencies related to Minnesota Tribal communities. As typical, considerations for all learners to ensure that parents and families are meaningfully engaged in solutions and the implementation of services for our students and for all Minnesotans. Donna Ostvig, Integration and Engagement Coordinator, will be working directly with American Indian families to assure their needs are being met.

Home School Options for Parents

Minnesota’s Compulsory Instruction Law requires all students ages 7-17 to receive instruction. Families may choose to withdraw their children from public school and provide instruction in a homeschool setting. Families who plan to home-school their children are required to register with the school district in which they reside. If a student is open enrolled or attending a charter school, the family must register the student with the school district in which the family resides, not the school from which the student unenrolled.

A sample registration form is available from the MDE website. A Homeschool Questions and Answers document is also available; it provides additional information about home schooling in Minnesota.

MDE’s Ombudsperson is available to answer questions about home schooling from families, districts, or charter schools. Please contact Cindy S. Jackson at 651-582-8572 or