The start of the school year for students at Rossman and Roosevelt elementary schools in Detroit Lakes has been pushed back from Monday, Sept. 14, to Thursday, Sept. 17.

The news was first posted Monday, Aug. 31 on the Detroit Lakes Public Schools Facebook page.

Hey there Roosevelt and Rossman Elementary Families! The student start date for our ELEMENTARY buildings will be pushed...

Posted by Detroit Lakes Public Schools on Monday, August 31, 2020

On Tuesday, Roosevelt Principal Trisha Mariotti and Rossman Principal Jason Kuehn gave a joint response to questions about the decision.

In it, they said: "We finalized the decision late last week through internal discussions and then communicated it via our normal messaging to parents on Monday, Aug. 31. The district also reposted those messages via their Facebook page. Leading up to the decision, we had multiple conversations that included staff about adjusting the start date for elementary schools to allow for family meetings, knowing that we would not be able hold open house activities like we have historically. Once the school board approved the base learning plan for the school year, we finalized our plans to adjust the start of the school year."

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Parents will be asked to schedule a family conference at their child's school, anytime between Monday, Sept. 14 and Wednesday, Sept. 16. During this time, parents and students will be able to meet their teachers, see their classrooms and the improvements to the building in a safe, individualized manner, bring in their school supplies and get acclimated to the building.

"As we shared in our communication to parents, we view the opportunity for students and families to meet their teachers and physically come into the building prior to school year starting is important every year, but even more so this year," said Mariotti and Kuehn in their joint statement. "Once the school year begins, access to the building will be limited for families and visitors, and we figured this route would allow for families to see their child's classroom and the school in a safe manner. We want families to see the adjustments we have made to match the guidance given to schools by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), as well as the opportunity to ask questions. Lastly, we feel that making it a positive experience prior to the school year will help to set the tone and allow families to feel more comfortable about their decision to return to school.

"Currently, we plan to follow similar daily start and end times (as in years past). Additionally, we will be sending communications to families updating on changes in regards to student arrival and dismissal routines. We continue to encourage parents to ask questions and pay attention to communications coming from their child's school, and we are excited to start the school year and have students return to school. Our staff has been working hard to plan for students to return and meet the guidance provided by MDE and MDH."

To set up a conference time, parents are asked to call their children's respective schools and schedule an appointment, just as they would for a parent-teacher conference.

Classes at the middle school and high school are still scheduled to start Monday, Sept. 14, on a hybrid schedule that combines both in-person and distance learning. For further questions, call the school district office at 218-847-9271 or visit the website at dlschools.net.