Schools closed, Distance learning through May 4

The Governor has ordered all Minnesota schools to remain closed with distance learning in place from March 30 through May 4 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Distance learning resources

Recursos de aprendizaje a distancia

Stillwater Area Public Schools’ distance learning plan is intended to provide students with new learning while sustaining previous learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our task is to create meaningful experiences related to student learning goals and outcomes. They also need to be aligned with state and national academic standards. With your help at home, we can make instruction and learning as meaningful as possible. 

Key Tenets of Distance Learning

  • Focuses only on essential learning - the most critical learning goals to make learning manageable for everyone
  • Does not require students to be working on academics for the same duration of time as a face-to-face school day
  • Establishes routines and structures that support students/families
  • Provides instruction that meets the needs of all learners to the best extent possible
  • Leverages digital tools that students have already used as part of their regular instruction 

How Distance Learning Days Work

  • Teachers will be available during the school day to answer questions and provide guidance as noted in the Staff Availability section below.  
  • Teachers who specifically support Special Education, Intervention, and English Learner programming will be reaching out to students and families to help provide support and learning.
  • Some students may face unique challenges while adjusting to distance learning. Please have patience, encourage perseverance, provide positive feedback, and reach out to teachers with any concerns or needs. Check out these Distance Learning Daily Schedule Examples

Early Childhood and Elementary Students
Early Childhood through 5th grade students should check Seesaw for a daily message from their Homeroom teacher. For the first few weeks, Seesaw will only be used for two way communication with teachers and families, and students will utilize choice boards to guide their instruction. Homeroom teachers will post a daily message or question by 9 a.m. on ‘Announcements’ for students and families to respond to.  Information and directions for Seesaw.

Choice boards for lessons for March 30-April 10: 

Secondary Students

6th-12th grade students will check Schoology every day for instructions and to connect with their teachers. Students are expected to be engaged daily with each of their classes and complete learning activities. Learning activities will be posted daily in Schoology for secondary students, grades 6-12, between the hours of 7-10 a.m. New to Schoology? Check out A Parent's Guide To Schoology.

Staff Availability

Teachers and other licensed professionals will be available by email or phone from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday to connect with students and families. View Staff Directory.

Daily Time Commitments & Routines

The guideline for student time commitments are as follows (not to exceed 60% of class period):

Grades K-2: Approximately 1-2 hours per day
Grades 3-5: Approximately 2-3 hours per day; this includes homework
Grades 6-8: Approximately 30 minutes per class; 2.5-3 hours daily including homework
Grades 9-12: Approximately 45 minutes per class; 3-4 hours daily including homework


According to state guidelines, attendance will be taken each day.  Attendance will be tracked by daily engagement and communication. Attendance phone notifications in Skyward will be turned off. However, your child’s teacher or principal will contact you directly if there are concerns about your child’s engagement and attendance. Attendance processes vary by level:

  • Elementary: Homeroom teachers will take attendance via Skyward but will monitor engagement and communication via Seesaw. If you do not have access to Seesaw, your child’s teacher will reach out to you by phone or email.
  • Middle School: Attendance will be managed by students’ scheduled PonyTIME/advisory teacher.  Each day students must complete the posted attendance assignment.  
  • High School and ALC: Every teacher your child has will be entering attendance in Skyward.  Attendance will be tracked through student involvement/engagement in Schoology, completion of assignments, submission of work, and formative assessments which check for learning and understanding.

If your student becomes ill and is unable to participate in the day’s lessons, normal attendance procedures should be followed.  Students will still be expected to complete the given work for the day once they are able to return to distance learning.

Student Expectations

Although learning won’t be happening within the school building, any connection and engagement in the Distance Learning process is still under the protection of ISD834.  Students are still expected to follow the expectations and rules as laid out in the District Handbook.  

Need Internet Access?

Here is a list of local Internet Service Providers (ISP) with links to their main website, as well as their low-cost services that families must qualify for.