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Safe Learning Plan, Survey Results & Guidance

Will students and staff be required to wear a face-covering?

Face coverings and masks will be optional for students and staff as of August 18, 2021.  Keeping in mind that we need to be flexible if the situation dictates.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors but is currently not requiring them.  SFAS encourages precaution and safety as we have in the past.

Have questions answered on the COVID-19 Q & A webpage

When does school start?

St. Francis Area Schools will have all students attending five days a week, in-person or online, for the 2021-22 school year. The school year will begin with transition days to establish a sense of community and connection with students and teachers. 

Tuesday, September 7

  • Kindergarten students with last names A-L
  • Grades 1-6
  • Grade 9
  • Grades K-12 online students
  • First-year Transition 15 students

Wednesday, September 8

  • Kindergarten students with last names M-Z
  • Grades 1-12
  • All Transition 15 students

Thursday, September 9

  • All students K-12

Friday, September 10

  • First day of Preschool Place 15

Wednesday, September 15

  • First day of Early Childhood Family Education

More details will be sent to families by schools and programs in the following weeks. It is essential that you review your household contact information in Infinite Campus for accuracy. In case of an emergency, we must be able to contact you or the listed emergency contact.

What are the programming options?

Attending in-person

If you are new to St. Francis Area Schools, please Enroll Online for kindergarten through grade 12 students. Please do not enroll students who have previously attended St. Francis Area Schools and are returning to school after distance learning. Student enrollments will automatically be carried forward each year.

All Preschool and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) programs will be offered in-person only; there will not be an online option for Pre-K or ECSE. Preschool families will receive a mailing at the end of August regarding teacher assignments, open house sign-up, and other important information. 

Attending online

ENROLLMENT DEADLINE: Currently enrolled students who switch to Saints Online will need to register by Friday, August 20, 2021. The deadline will be reopened pending any new mandates/directives from state agencies.

Saints Online is an online schooling option for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Kindergarten through 2nd grade was recently approved as the program was previously offered for 3rd through 12th grade. The program is supported by teachers and staff within St. Francis Area Schools and has proven to be an effective and successful online program. Saints Online is in its seventh year of offering quality online programming and was one of the first four online schools in Minnesota to be accredited by the Minnesota Department of Education. Many students find academic success through Saints Online at all grade levels with local support and flexible online classes. We understand that a flexible schedule is important to our students and their families. Saints Online students can be enrolled full-time online or enrolled concurrently with another school within the District, such as St. Francis High School or Saints Academy, so that they can choose from the wide range of courses in those schools as well. 

Online students are supported by their teachers and District student support staff, including a school counselor, special education staff, school health office, and others. Knowing how to best support our online students can be challenging, so we partner with families and students to be as creative as possible with meeting their needs the best we can. For more information on student support, please contact Tim O’Connell, St. Francis Learning Center Supervisor, at

If you choose to enroll your student in Saints Online in any capacity, please make sure to register with the appropriate link.

Currently enrolled students who switch to Saints Online will need to register by Friday, August 20, 2021. The deadline will be reopened pending any new mandates/directives from state agencies.

For students who are currently enrolled in St. Francis Area Schools, click HERE.

For students who are not currently enrolled in St. Francis Area Schools, click HERE.

Photo: Students reading in a casual setting
Nutrition Services, Educational Benefits for reduced fees and funding

St. Francis Area Schools is participating in the United States Department of Agriculture provision that provides FREE meals for all students during the 2021-22 school year. No application is required to receive this free meal benefit.

However, your student(s) may qualify for additional benefits such as reduced fees for activities, athletics, preschool. Families may qualify for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT). P-EBT is a federal temporary emergency nutrition benefit loaded onto electronic cards for families to purchase food. Applying for Educational Benefits will also qualify St. Francis Area School for critical education funds and discounts that help district operations.

Take a few moments to apply online now, Educational Benefits Form.

Health screening guidelines and expectations

We ask that families use their best judgment when their student(s) may not be feeling well on whether or not they should attend in-person classes. Please report any absence to your student's school. We encourage you to be cautious as we make every effort to avoid any further disruptions in our attempts to provide a typical school year for our community.

What is the building access for families and visitors?

Starting off the school year, only people who are essential to the learning environment will be granted access to our Pre-K through grade 5 buildings. Outside visitors are allowed by appointment in our middle and high school buildings. 

Are there any changes in transportation?

Buses will be running at standard capacity. Transportation staff will continue to clean the buses frequently, spraying each seat with disinfectant and wiping high-touch surfaces. 

If your student rode the bus at the end of last year, they are still routed for this year. If your student did not ride at the end of last year and needs a bus ride this fall, please submit a Student Transportation Form. Please submit the Student Transportation Form as soon as possible to help with load projections for this fall.

Open House dates

Monday, August 30 | St. Francis High School
    Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
    School Supply Lists

Tuesday, August 31 | St. Francis Middle School
    Special Education Open House 3:00-7:00 p.m.
    Open House 4:00-7:00 p.m.
    School Supply Lists

Tuesday, August 31 | St. Francis Elementary School
    Open House 5:00-6:30 p.m.
    School Supply Lists

Tuesday, August 31 | Cedar Creek Elementary School
    Open House 5:00-6:30 p.m.
    School Supply Lists

Wednesday, September 1 | Transition 15
    St. Francis Learning Center
    Open House 3:00-7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 1 | St. Francis Learning Center
    Open House 4:30-7:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 2 | East Bethel Elementary School
    Open House 5:00-6:30 p.m.
    School Supply Lists

Wednesday, September 8 | Preschool Place 15
    Early Childhood Family Center and St. Francis Elementary School
    Open House 3:00-7:00 p.m.


Safe return to in-person learning survey results

It is with great pleasure and excitement that we are discussing the 2021-2022 school year! In this document, you will find answers to some of the questions I have been asked in recent months. If you have any additional questions, I am here to help. Contact me at or 763-753-7040.

Recently the District asked families and staff to take a survey to help guide planning for this fall. We appreciate the input from the 431 respondents. Below is a breakdown of respondents by the school where their child(ren) attend.

Please indicate what school(s) your child(ren) will attend in the fall (431 responses)

 Early Childhood Family Center   (24) 5.6%
 East Bethel Elementary School   (74) 17.2%
 Cedar Creek Elementary School   (99) 23%
 St. Francis Elementary School   (83) 19.3%
 St. Francis Middle School   (135) 31.3%
 St. Francis High School  (170) 39.4%
 Saints Online  (1) 0.2%
 Saints Academy  (3) 0.7%
 T15   (2) 0.5%
 Other   (9) 2.1%


Respondents were also asked, What safety measures they would like prioritized for the 2020-2021 school year?
The results are as follows, in prioritized order:

 Classrooms and other gathering places cleaned and sanitized daily   62.4%
 Sanitizing supplies including, hand sanitizers readily available for staff and students  62.6%
 Unvaccinated staff required to wear a face-covering   19.9%
 Symptom check required for every employee before entering the school/workplace   17.7%
 Unvaccinated students required to wear a face-covering  13.9%
 Required proof of vaccination status  12.3%
 Symptom check required for every student before entering the school  11.4%
 Social distancing protocols  9%
 All students required to wear a face-covering   1.6%
 All staff required to wear a face-covering  1.4%
 None of the above  28.8%
 Other   7%
 All of the above  0.9%


Finally, anecdotal data was collected, found again in the “Other” category with 11 additional submissions for a total of 41 responses. Overwhelmingly, the statements collected from respondents indicated that over half of the 41 written comments did not want to have a mask mandate in place and that we should return to a typical education model. Several respondents indicated that they would like St. Francis Area Schools to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines as appropriate. It is worth noting that over 62 percent of respondents indicated cleaning and sanitizing as a priority; several commented that this should be a priority at all times.