Campus in the fall
Safe Learning Plan 2020-2021

Perpich safe learning plan 2020-2021

Using guidance from the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan, Perpich Arts High School will be opening the 2020-21 school year in distance learning until September 11th, when we plan to go to a hybrid model of learning.

This decision is based on a review of the initial data and trends in the number of cases for the 34 counties where our students reside, the input from families and staff, and the direct consultation with the MN Department of Health (MDH). Our unique setting of enrolling students from across the state and the fact that over half of our incoming students wish to reside in our dorm add a level of complexity to our decision making. In the end, it revealed that we should not bring everyone on campus until health data suggests we are in a better place. We believe our plan allows us to transition into the school year and then allows small groups of students to experience both our Perpich community and our arts programming in person on a rotating basis. Here are the details:

  1. The student body will be divided into three groups based on art areas. Each group will come to campus for a one-day orientation on August 24th, August 26th, or August 28th. At that orientation, students will go through start of year information, receive the supplies they need to be able to access their 1st quarter classes, meet their teachers, hear about how their classes will be conducted in a distance mode, and learn about all of the safety and educational protocols they need to observe when they are on campus during our hybrid learning phase. These groupings will limit us to around 50 students on campus and less than 30 students in the dorm on any week.
  2. All students will be in distance learning from August 31st – September 11th. Given that we have been able to do more planning, there will be components of this design and delivery that will be improvements over the emergency remote learning we were doing last spring. We will also monitor county infection rates to confirm that we remain in a hybrid learning range and can move into that on September 14th. As is indicated on our school calendar, there will be no school on September 7th (Labor Day) and September 8th.
  3. Beginning on September 14th, we will bring the first of our three groups of students on campus for the week. The rest of our students will remain in distance learning. Students residing in the dorm will move in starting at noon on September 13th. They will only bring what they need to stay for the week. The room they assigned will be the room they return to for each of their on campus weeks. No one else will stay in their room. Each student will have their own bathroom for the week. This first group of dorm students will move out on Saturday, September 19th. Commuters will simply report to school for First Block (8:00 a.m.) each day that they are scheduled to be on campus. The second group will be on campus for the week of September 21st; dorm students move in on September 20th and move out September 26th. The third group will be on campus for the week of September 28th; dorm students move in on September 27th and move out on October 3rd. Morning academic classes will have between 2-14 students in class. Afternoon art classes will have between 6-16 students in class. These numbers allow us to maintain social distancing in each of these classes. Additionally, small class sizes will enhance in-person academic support/in-person arts experiences and build community with those students in attendance that week.
  4. During each three week hybrid cycle, we will monitor MDH county infection data to determine if we continue on to another cycle or if we move to all distance learning or to all in-person learning. During all of this, families have the opportunity to be in distance learning any time they feel it necessary. While students are on campus, we will have safety protocols in place; see below. Given that our plan limits us to a small number of students on campus and in the dorm on any given week, we will be in a much better position to monitor and reinforce proper safety and hygiene protocols.

Given this final plan for opening up school, we are asking everyone to complete one last survey of student plans. This will provide us with final decisions on dorming and learning (distance or in person) and help us finalize our preparations for the school year. Please complete by Tuesday, August 11th.


The protocols outlined below follow the MN Department of Health (MDH) requirements, which call for us to:
  • Name a program coordinator
  • Establish steps for social distancing and minimizing exposure
  • Address face coverings
  • Protect vulnerable populations
  • Support healthy hygiene practices
  • Describe cleaning routines
  • Establish procedures for monitoring and addressing those who are ill
  • Support mental health and wellness
Program Coordinator

Principal Conn McCartan will serve as program coordinator. As such, he will communicate concerns, challenges, and lessons learned related to COVID-19 preventive activities as needed with staff, students/families, school and district leadership, and local health officials. Conn will work closely with staff and student leadership groups to monitor the effectiveness of our plan as we move through the school year.

Social Distancing/Exposure


  • All dorm rooms will be single occupancy this year. There will only be one student per bathroom.
  • Common spaces in the dorm will have capacity limits and dorm staff will monitor student movement to maintain social distancing. Signage and floor markings will support this.
  • Dorm protocols will not allow anyone else in a student’s room, will minimize exposure to one another, and will emphasize the importance of cleanliness.
  • To minimize exposure, no visitors will be allowed in the dorm, unless it is a family member who has pre-arranged the visit.


  • We have conducted a space audit for all of our classrooms, studios, and performance spaces. No space will have more students than distancing guidelines allow.
  • We have established procedures for students entering and exiting the building to reduce crowding.
  • Students will be distanced during lunch by establishing several areas, in addition to the cafeteria, where they may eat.
  • Students will remain on campus for lunch.
  • To minimize exposure, no visitors will be allowed in the school, unless it is someone who has a pre-arranged approval for the visit.
  • A limited number of lockers will be available to maintain six foot distancing. Students are encouraged to use backpacks.
  • Signage and floor markings will reinforce six foot distancing and other safety measures.
Face Coverings
  • Everyone entering the school or dorm must wear a face covering (mask).  
  • Students may remove their face covering when in their dorm room, or outside and 6 feet away from others.
  • Staff may remove their face covering if they are in a room alone, or outside and 6 feet away from others.
  • Once they are distributed to schools, all students and staff will be provided with face coverings. Until then, we ask everyone to provide their own.
Vulnerable Populations

The MDH identifies the following as vulnerable populations:

Are 65 years and older
Have underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well-controlled, including:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Compromised immune system
  • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Hemoglobin disorder

Any student or staff who fall into one of these categories will work with the program coordinator and/or Human resources staff, school nurse/counselor/case manager to have a plan in place to assure safe access to work or learning programming. These plans may include tele-working or distance learning.

Hygiene Practices
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and throughout the school, cafeteria, and dorms. Students and staff will be encouraged to apply hand sanitizer each time they enter and leave a space where they touch surfaces.
  • Signage with reminders of hand washing procedures will be posted around campus.
  • Students and staff will be encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Students and staff will be reminded to practice physical distancing when it comes to greetings – avoiding handshakes, high fives, or hugs. Air high fives, air elbow bumps, or a simple wave can be used in place of physical contact.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cleaning Routines
  • In addition to regular and deep cleaning conducted in the school and the dorm by our custodial staff, students and staff will be asked to take responsibility to wipe down areas and tools/items they have worked in/with after they have used them.
  • Wherever possible, students will be encouraged to not share class materials. When sharing is necessary, cleaning protocol will be in place.
  • Dorm cleaning procedures that students have always been asked to do become even more important now. Dorm staff will reinforce the need for students to keep up on their cleaning responsibilities in their rooms and common areas.
  • All air handling units in our buildings have had upgraded filters installed and will be running to maximize air flow.
Monitoring and addressing illness

A method of symptom screening will be done each day before students and staff enter the building. The same screening will be done before any approved visitor can enter the school/dorm. Anyone who reports any symptoms or illness will be told to stay home or will not be allowed to enter the buildings.

Any student who displays signs of illness during the school day will be isolated until family can come to pick them up. Isolation areas have been established in both the school and the dorm. The school nurse will work with state health officials on any confirmed case of COVID-19 to establish response and communication plans for the school.

Anyone who feels sick should stay home! The use of MacBook Airs allows students to access school programming from home. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • New onset cough or shortness of breath by themselves OR at least 2 of the following: fever (100.4ºF or higher), chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste, and gastrointestinal symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.
  • If a person has a new symptom (for example, new loss of smell only) with no other diagnosis to explain it, they should stay home and talk to their health care provider about testing for COVID-19, even if it is the only symptom they are experiencing.

Staff and parents of students are encouraged to notify school officials of any COVID-19 symptoms, positive tests for COVID-19, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.

Students and staff who are sick or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should stay home.

Mental Health and Wellness

Students and staff will have access to mental health services. Staff can find out more about this through human resources. Students/families can find out more by talking with our counselor, case managers, and/or nurse.

While these safety measures are required for us to have students in school, we recognize that they also require adjustments to our normal school routines. None of that will be easy, but because of the special qualities of an artistic community, we believe our students will be committed to care for one another’s well being. That care will help us navigate these adjustments and still create the community we have come to love at Perpich!


Food Resources: For students and families experiencing difficulty accessing food services at this time, many of your local school districts are providing food to any in need. Check with your resident school district to find where food is being made available to families with this need.

10 ways to be a successful online student

How to access best practices around health from MN Dept of Health

MN Dept of Education COVID-19 Update Page

Key Contact Information

Conn McCartan, Principal
Rebecca Bullen, Asst. Principal
Carol Grzybowski, Counselor
Charles Rick, Executive Director
Main Switchboard (staffed 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) 763-279-4200
Attendance Line 763-279-4199

Daily Schedule (for synchronous class meetings)









"[Perpich] has given Ana direction, skills, and shown her how to express herself through her art. She has grown enormously, and is forever inspired and changed."

Kelly Wray, Perpich Arts High School Parent:

"Our daughter Lizzy just graduated from Perpich [in 2012]. We had just moved to Minnesota in August, the month before the start of her junior year...(and that fall,) she was able to begin the best two years of schooling in her life. We love the school, the staff and all the school represents in the arts and the community."

Kim Parker, Perpich Arts High School Parent

“Our greatest concern was not being able to supervise him during these vulnerable years. We live 250 miles from the school and we couldn’t imagine how we would be able to maintain the quality of communication we felt necessary to be ‘good’ parents. What resolved our concerns were our observations of how attentive the staff was to the residents. They initiated contact with us as needed. They asked all the ‘right’ questions that showed us they understand kids and understand parents, (i.e., what we needed to feel secure about our son being so far away and in someone else’s care). We also discovered that good communication won’t depend on how physically close you happen to be. We feel we’ve continued to have close intimate connection with our son despite the distance. And the dorm staff fosters it.”

Perpich Arts High School Dorm Parent

"For 17 years I’d carried the bulk of my children’s education myself. Sending the two oldest away to Perpich was a huge step of faith and I have not been disappointed. The teachers, in particular, have been fabulous!"

Merri Mickelson, Perpich Arts High School Parent

“Our greatest concern about sending our daughter to live at the dorm was, of course, her safety. After attending an information session and then orientation day all of us felt much more secure. The dorm is set up very securely with a set of very reasonable yet strict rules; our daughter wanted to attend the Arts High School badly enough that she was willing to follow those rules. We were comfortable with the curfews, the sign in and out procedures, and all the other restrictions (some of which were stricter than home). Our daughter has learned to balance her life on her own, to live with other people and their differences and she’s felt a little freedom.”

Perpich Arts High School Dorm Parent

Previous Testimonial Next Testimonial