• 4/23/2020

    Good Afternoon, 
    Today, Governor Walz announced that all schools in Minnesota will continue Distance Learning through the end of the school year.  This includes no spring extra and co-curricular activities. Though extremely sad news, especially with all of the important end-of-the-year activities we have planned, at least we no longer wait for an answer as to how the school year will end.  With all of us just hearing this news, there are bound to be many questions and concerns from students, families, and staff.  Know that we have been considering this possibility, so we have been planning.  Now that we have this definite timeline, we will solidify our plans and communicate all that we are able to, as soon as possible.  We thank you in advance for your patience as we create plans for events as critical as Commencement for example. 

    The Governor's message included changing May 1 and May 4 to professional learning days for staff so they can plan for distance learning to continue until the end of the school year. There will not be school work planned for these two days.  We will keep our Child Care and Meal Service in place on these days even though there is no “school”.  We realize how critical these serves are for our families and are honored to help.

    Our next connection with the Minnesota Dept. of Education won’t be until Tuesday afternoon.  We do not anticipate any additional school guidance until then.  It is possible, we may not have more specific academic and school event-related information for you until Wednesday, April 29th.  Again, as soon as we have details, we will send them to you, and thank you in advance for your patience.

    Parents, we need your assistance to help further our plans with Distance Learning.  Please complete this brief survey (one per family) regarding your perspective on Distance Learning: . 

    Please complete the survey by Monday, April 27th at 8:00 p.m.

    As we have shared in the past, as needs change, please let us know if we can help with Childcare, Meals or anything else by using these links:

    Childcare Link:
    Meals Link:
    Technology Support: 
    Feedback form: 

    Overall, we are so thankful that Distance Learning has been going well, but today’s news is challenging as we miss our students so much and we grieve with all for what has been and what will be lost in terms of connections and experiences!  However, because we have been a strong student-family-school team with great support and communication all along, we will continue to meet and conquer this challenge.  As a District, we continue to be committed to making our students' experiences as engaging and as meaningful as possible.

    Please reach out if I can be of assistance in any way.

    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.
    Chisago Lakes School District 


    Do the Five to help stop Coronavirus. 1. Wash hands. 2 Elbow cough. 3. Don't touch face. 4. Stay more than 3' apart. 5. Feel


    Dear Families,
    Week three of Distance Learning has come to a close and again, I want to say thank you all for making it happen!  Our student, staff, parent team keeps getting stronger and we are blessed. Communication is driving our success. Teachers, Admin, and other staff are providing information and when things are unclear or support is needed, students and parents are reaching out.  As the days continue, let’s continue to keep our focus on communication so we can provide support to one another. Please continue to make your first call to your primary contacts, but you may also use this form.  Technology support can be reached at or 651-213-2016. 

    Additionally, we have many resources for students and parents on our website.  Please visit:

    As needs change, we wish to continue to remind our communities that we do offer child care to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 Workers (Tier 1 & Tier 2 list).  Service is M-F from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. If you work in these areas and need child care support, please register online through Eleyo: for 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Child Care. If you have questions on how to register online, please visit or contact Michelle Kleist at or 651-213-2601.

    Chisago Lakes School District is also providing meal service for any child 18 and under.  Currently, we provide meals for approximately 300 students per day, but we have the capacity to serve many more!  You may have not accessed meals up to this point and possibly your needs have changed. We want to help. Please click this link to sign up for free meals: Meals for all children 18 and under.

    On behalf of our staff, I want to again thank you for your support.  We’re leaning in and we’re leaning on and together, we are getting through this.

    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.
    Chisago Lakes School District


    Dear Families,
    I hope this email finds you safe and healthy during these challenging times.  I wanted to share a brief update from the District to start the week.

    Overall, Distance Learning Week One was a success.  We realize there were glitches and challenges, but everyone worked together to resolve these challenges and it is our goal to continue to get better and better.  Please continue to work with your student’s Teachers and Principals as needs arise.  

    Child Care and school meals continue throughout the Governor’s Distance Learning period.  However, on days where we were scheduled to not have school, there will not be Child Care or Meals available.  Friday, April 10th is Good Friday and Child Care and Meals will not be available. 

    As previously announced, we have extended our child care to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 Workers (Tier 1 & Tier 2 list). If you work in these areas and need child care support, please register online through Eleyo: for 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Child Care. If you have questions on how to register online, please visit or contact Michelle Kleist at or 651-213-2601. All registrations must be completed online. Child care will be offered through Monday, May 4th (Monday - Friday) from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.

    We will continue to provide meals to any student in need. If you are in need of meal support, please complete this form:

    Distance Learning has been a new adventure for all of us and while we miss seeing our students in classrooms, just seeing their faces and hearing their voices in our online classrooms was a treat!  Parents and families, thank you so much for all you are doing to support the learning process at home!

    Dean A. Jennissen, Superintendent
    Chisago Lakes School District 


    Dear Families,
    I am hoping you will enjoy a much shorter message this evening!  

    Linked to this email is access to our Distance Learning Plan for all students at Chisago Lakes.   It is a lengthy document, but an important one to guide students, families and staff. As expressed previously, to plan for Distance Learning in less than 10 days was a huge undertaking.  I wish to publicly express my gratitude to our Teachers, Support Staff and Admin for your contributions! Also, to parents that have been asking questions, you have helped guide our preparation as well… thanks to all! 

    Chisago Lakes Distance Learning Plan:

    There is no way we have thought of everything in this document.  This will be our guiding document and as we roll things out on Monday, 3/30 and throughout the Distance Learning period, new guidance will emerge. Specific information on your child's individual lessons and assignments will be given by each teacher. Students and parents, thank you in advance for sharing your questions and needs as they will help us refine our delivery.  I will also thank you in advance for your patience and support as we work with you to provide a great learning experience for your students.

    Monday couldn’t get here soon enough.  We cannot wait to connect with our students! 

    Have a great weekend!
    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.

    Wednesday, 3/25/2020 4:00 PM
    RE: Distance Learning to be in place until at least May 4th.

    Dear Families, Students, and Staff,
    You may have already heard of Governor Walz’s announcements that were made this afternoon at 2:00 PM.  As shared in previous communications, this situation is indeed fluid. So what has changed? In terms of school, we now have clearer timelines. In terms of how education will be delivered, we’ve been preparing for Distance Learning to begin on Monday, March 30th and that won’t change. For our elementary and CLEC families, please continue to follow directions from Principals regarding pick-up times for materials from schools through this Friday. Keep in mind, the Governor’s Stay Home order begins Friday, March 27th at 11:59 p.m.

    The Distance Learning model will be in place until Tuesday, May 4th, 2020. Based on current State guidance, this would mean that students will return to school on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020. Please keep in mind, this is subject to change as our educational response to COVID-19 continues to be fluid.

    From a family standpoint, knowing that we will begin Distance Learning Monday, March 30th and it will continue until at least May 4th will impact your household. As your needs change, we want to reach out with the following resources: 

    • Meals: We will continue to provide meals to students in need. If you are in need of meal support, please complete this survey. This survey will stay open as individual situations change. If you had filled out the previous survey, you are in our system and do not need to complete the survey again. Meal Support Form:
    • Child Care: We are extending our childcare to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 Workers, ( Tier 1 & Tier 2 list). If you work in these areas and need childcare support please register online through Eleyo: for 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Child Care. If you have questions on how to register online, please visit or contact Michelle Kleist at or 651-213-2601. All registrations must be completed online. Childcare will be offered from Monday, March 30th - Monday, May 4th (Monday - Friday) from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.
    • Distance Learning: Distance Learning will start March 30th and continue through Monday, May 4th, 2020. Please look for communication via email and on our website with additional details on Distance Learning tomorrow. 
    • Food Drives: Boxes will be located inside the main entrance of each building to make for easy drop off at the following sites, dates and times. Non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations preferred:
      • Primary School, 11009 284th St. Chisago City:  Thursday, March 26th, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
      • Taylors Falls Elementary, 648 West Street Taylors Falls:  Friday, March 27th, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm.

    I apologize for another long email, but there is so much to convey as we attempt to do our best for our students and families.  Thank you so much for your patience, flexibility and continued support in this endeavor. 

    Dean A. Jennissen, Superintendent
    Chisago Lakes School District 

    RE: 3/24/2020 Update - Chisago Lakes School District 

    Dear Chisago Lakes Families,
    I hope this email finds your family well.  Know that we are thinking of you and what your family may be experiencing.  These are incredibly challenging times on so many levels. As a school team, we are doing our best to put ourselves in your shoes.  We are attempting to have realistic expectations for students, parents, families and for ourselves. Further, as we have been living this fluid situation daily, we realize the status of your family may change on a daily basis.  Please continue to communicate with school staff as needs arise.

    There are items in this communication that are intended to be a reminder.  The first of which is what “school” will look like beginning Monday, March 30th.  School will be delivered in a Distance Learning model. In other words, school will be held in your homes.  On Thursday, March 26th the District will provide guidance on how Distance Learning will be delivered specifically to your student. 

    We are currently providing and will continue to provide meals to students in need. If you are in need of meal support, please complete this survey.  If you had filled out the previous survey, you are in our system and do not need to complete the survey again. Meal Support Form:

    Many updates and resources continue to be posted on our COVID-19 webpage, including resources for Internet services at home

    As you would expect, our local Food Shelf has needs at this time.  First and foremost, our Food Shelf is in need of volunteers. If you can help staff our Food Shelf, please contact: Brooke Zank at 612-322-8137 or at 

    Additionally, join us in helping to stock our local Food Shelf. We will be hosting Parking Lot Food Drives at the following sites, dates and times. There will be a vehicle parked in the fire lane near the main entrance of each building to make for easy drop-off. Non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations preferred:

    • Lakeside/District Office 29678 Karmel Ave. Chisago City:  Wednesday, March 25th, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    • Primary School 11009 284th St. Chisago City:  Thursday, March 26th, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    • Taylors Falls 648 West Street Taylors Falls:  Friday, March 27th, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    As we continue to staff our childcare centers and prepare meals for families we are finding ourselves in need of supplies.   Specifically, if you have hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes or protective face masks, we would gladly accept them. They may be dropped off at the District Office at 29678 Karmel Ave. in Chisago City.  

    In closing, I wish to share a video with you that really struck a chord with me on a personal, family level.  I wish to take my efforts to “flatten the curve” on the spread of COVID-19 to the next level. This video helped me to see how I could personally make a difference: Dr. Emily Landon from NBC Chicago on 3/21/2020

    One again, on behalf of our hard-working staff, I wish to thank our families for your incredible patience, flexibility, and understanding as we have been preparing for Distance Learning.  We miss your students terribly and cannot wait to begin connecting with them on Monday, March 30th. We have an excellent plan, but there will be kinks that will need to be worked out. I wish to thank you in advance for the input and ideas you will provide as we begin this new way of delivering instruction to our students. 

    Best wishes to you and please reach out if we can be of assistance.

    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.
    Chisago Lakes School District 

    Date: 3/19/2020 12:30 PM
    RE: 3/19/2020 District Update (COVID-19 School Closure Information)
    The following information is available on our website at

    Dear Chisago Lakes Families, 
    We appreciate your continued flexibility and patience as we learn and adapt to our current realities. Our schools continue to operate in the Closure Period established by the Governor.  Schools are closed through Friday, March 27th. Our staff continues to plan for distance learning to begin on March 30th. A reminder that “distance learning” means learning will not be done at school, but at home.   

    Beginning March 30th, like all schools in Minnesota, we will begin distance learning for students for an extended period of time.  I have been asked by many if we know a timeline for how long student learning will be done at home. We have no guidance from the State at this time.  We are anticipating and planning as if this will last for “an extended period of time.” I wish I could tell you exactly what that means. On a daily basis, please continue to monitor communications from the District, your Building Principals, Teachers, and School staff. 

    We are receiving many questions specific to grade levels, buildings, programs, and activities.  Daily, we are receiving guidance from all governing entities and guidance can change, literally, daily.  Our administration and staff are processing this information and will respond as soon as possible, and as soon as we can do so thoughtfully and confidently.  As you have specific questions, please continue to contact your student(s) principals and directors of programs. Or, you may use this forum to provide your input and questions:  We monitor this communication tool daily.  Know that you may not receive an immediate response.  We appreciate your patience.

    We need your continued help as we attempt to best meet the needs of our families.  Correct contact information for all families is critical to our mission. Please review and update your information in Synergy. Directions to update your contact information is located here.  

    Meals for Students: We previously surveyed families who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch to see who needed support.  This is to be extended to any family who has a student enrolled in our schools who need meal support. If you need meal support, please complete this survey.  If you had filled out the previous survey, you are in our system and do not need to complete the survey again. Meal Support Form: 

    Child Care: We continue to provide support for Emergency Personnel, Health Care Personnel and School Staff (Tier 1 Emergency Personnel).  If you work in these areas, need support and have not previously reached out for support, please contact us here: 

    A March 18th updated guideline from the Governor directs schools to make every effort to extend Child Care to other essential community workers (Tier 2).  At this time, we are evaluating our ability to do so based upon current requests for support for Tier 1 workers. As we have a firm understanding of our capacity to support Tier 1 workers, we will communicate an opportunity to provide support for Tier 2 workers.

    Technology: Technology will play a critical role in our delivery of instruction starting on 3/30.  If you have not completed our Technology Survey, please do so ASAP:

    On behalf of the School Board and our Staff, I wish to again thank our families and communities for your continued patience, support, questions, and ideas.  I have replied to many offers of support and the best I way I can describe it, our communities truly have a “servant's heart.” We continue to be humbled and privileged to partner with you on behalf of our children in these extraordinary times.

    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.
    Chisago Lakes School District 

    RE: School Closure Period and Information Gathering

    Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff Members,
    The purpose of this email is to provide and gather information.  More information will be provided as the Governor’s Mandatory Closure Period continues.

    Key Information:

    • The Closure Period mandated by the Governor is March 18th - 27th.  Chisago Lakes chose to not have school on March 16th and 17th. We are not required to make up these student contact days. 
    • There will be NO school attendance or instruction for students from March 18th-27th.  School Staff will use this time to plan how to deliver Distance Learning (students not in school, but learning at home).
    • We have been directed to plan for Distance Learning to start on Monday, March 30th and continue for an extended period of time.  Therefore, this is what we are planning and preparing for - an extended period of time in which students will receive their learning at home. In this scenario, teachers would be providing instruction and assignments for students starting on this date to continue until directed differently by the State.  Student’s remote (at home) Attendance would begin to be tracked on March 30th. Students would be expected to perform the assigned work and will have access to their teachers from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday-Friday starting March 30th. 
    • Materials and Personal Items Left at School - The Middle School, High School, and CLEC will provide opportunities Wednesday, March 18th to Friday, March 20th for students and families to pick up textbooks and academic materials, personal belongings, band instruments, etc.  More specific information on pick-up times will be sent by the schools. For Primary School, Lakeside and Taylors Falls, if your students have important items that need to be picked up from school, please contact your Principal.

    With so much to plan for, we need various points of information from parents and staff.  Please review and complete the following applicable surveys as soon as possible, at latest by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, March 18th:

    1. Please complete this Survey if you are employed full-time in the fields of Emergency Services or Health Care, or work for the School District and are in need of child care to continue your role: 
    2. Please complete this Survey if your student(s) qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch and you would like Lunch and Breakfast provided for your student(s) while schools are closed:
    3. All Parents/Guardians Grades K-12 are asked to complete this Survey related to your student(s) ability(ies) to access technology for instruction. Please fill out this survey for each of your children separately (more than once):

    If you require paper copies of any of the surveys above, please contact the District Office at 651-213-2000. 
    Thank you so much for helping us plan for our needs by providing this information!

    A reminder to families, please utilize our Website to access information on COVID-19 and School Closures located at 

    With so many questions and needs we cannot anticipate, please use this form to submit questions or provide information on how we can best meet the needs of your family.  You may also utilize this email:   

    The times we are living in have been deemed, “Unprecedented, extraordinary, uncharted, etc.”  No doubt, they may seem scary, challenging and frustrating. I see these times as opportunities we are already realizing.  Time to step back, pause, reflect and focus on what is important to us. Time to collaborate, to plan, to organize. Time to get to know our neighbors, pitch-in, serve and go beyond.  This is Chisago Lakes. This is who we are. This is what we do. We stay optimistic in the face of adversity. We adapt and we overcome… together.

    Dean A. Jennissen, Supt.
    Chisago Lakes School District

    3/15/2020, 11:00 AM
    Chisago Lakes COVID-19 Information:
    RE: Gov Walz Announces State-wide School Closure in MN

    Good Morning, 
    At 10:00 AM this morning, Governor Walz announced state-wide school closures from March 18 through March 27 as a part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 community mitigation strategies. 

    With this announcement, all schools and programming will be canceled at Chisago Lakes School District beginning tomorrow, Monday, March 16th, through Friday, March 27th. 

    This is a change in our previously communicated plans and we will no longer have a two-hour late start on Tuesday with students. 

    On Monday, a team of Administration, Teachers and Support Staff will be making plans to address this extended and unprecedented school closure. We will provide an update by Monday evening related to:

    • Locations providing meals for students.
    • The state expectations for students to continue learning remotely. Distance learning opportunities and support for students will be communicated to families. 
    • Plans to support all of our students and their individual needs. 
    • Plans to support students for those with families working in healthcare and first responders. 
    • Instructions for staff involvement.
    • Methods to inventory our students, their families, and staff regarding spring break travel, pre-existing medical conditions, and other individual accommodations needed.

    The Chisago Lakes community is an incredible one. We have already received many inquiries on how people can help assist. Thank you so much! As we plan, we will keep our incredible community resources in mind.  It will take some time to sort through all that needs to happen. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate these uncharted waters in the days to come.

    Please note: Response to individual inquiries may be limited or delayed. Know that your questions and input will be read and considered in our planning.  

    Dean Jennissen, Superintendent
    Chisago Lakes School District 

    3/13/2020 1:30 PM
    RE: Schools will be closed on 3/16 and a two-hour late start 3/17

    Chisago Lakes Families and Staff, 
    The Minnesota Department of Education in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC have recently advised that schools do not close, but instead, hold school with certain guidelines to be considered.  

    Even with this information, the District feels it is prudent to develop our local response before having students and staff enter schools after Spring Break. 

    School will be closed on Monday, 3/16/20 to allow for information gathering and creating a plan to be as prepared as we can be for students and staff to return. This closing includes Kids Club, the Wildcat Community Center, Little Wildcats Preschool classes and all other programmings. 

    Schools will start two-hours late on Tuesday, 3/17/20 to allow for communication of our planning with staff so that they can share with students. This planning time will also help us prepare for students and staff that may be returning from trips, those seeking medical attention, and those who have preexisting conditions that may necessitate additional planning and support. Morning Kids Club is canceled. Also canceled are the Morning Little Wildcats Preschool and morning ECFE classes. The Wildcat Community Center will open at 10 AM on 3/17. 

    A Monday follow-up communication will also be sent to parents to include what we know, what we have done, and what we plan to do to ensure we are doing our best to keep students and staff safe.

    To best prepare for school to resume, we are asking for your help. Students/families and staff, please contact us at (preferred) or leave a voicemail for your child’s Principal: 

    • If you traveled to high-risk Countries (CDC Level 3), or have had direct contact with someone who has traveled to those areas. 
    • If you are currently seeking medical attention related to COVID-19-like symptoms.
    • If you are a student or a staff member with a chronic medical condition that may make you more susceptible to a virus.

    We will begin returning messages Monday. Please reference the CDCs website for the most up-to-date information regarding travel and 14-day self-quarantine guidelines. 

    CDC website for those traveling back into the US

    The CDC is recommending those who have traveled to the following areas to impose a 14-day quarantine and practice social distancing. At the time of this message on 3/13/2020, the following countries are listed as Level 3 by the CDC:  

    • China
    • Iran
    • South Korea
    • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City

    We have been getting questions regarding how we plan to clean. A high-level overview of our current COVID-19 cleaning procedures:  

    • All schools and classrooms have been thoroughly cleaned over Spring Break. 
    • Daily cleaning procedures at our facilities are being augmented and all team members have been educated on best practices recommended by the CDC.
    • Daily cleaning procedures expanded include disinfecting “touchpoints” that many people may come in contact with, such as light switches, door handles, door push points, paper towels, and toilet paper dispensers, toilets, urinals, desks, tables, and chairs.

    We understand that any school closings have an impact on all families in Chisago Lakes and are not making this decision lightly. The extra time will ensure we implement a measured response to this continually evolving situation. 

    We also understand that people may want to keep their children home from school. Please know that as a parent you have the right to make this decision and absences will be excused. All absences need to be reported to your school for any days missed. 

    Thank you for your flexibility and understanding,
    Chisago Lakes School District 

    RE: We are monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation

    Good Morning, 
    During spring break this week, we want to let families know that we are monitoring COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments nationally and most recently in Western Wisconsin. 

    We continue to monitor the situation through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The immediate health risk for Minnesota residents from COVID-19 is reported to be extremely low. 

    The primary recommendations encourage people to stay home when sick, cover their cough, and practice good handwashing. We recommend those traveling to visit the CDCs website for any additional guidance.

    As a school district, we plan and prepare for many different types of events. A disease outbreak is a part of that planning. We will continue to communicate with families as we receive any additional information and guidance on this event locally. 

    Thank You, 
    Chisago Lakes School District

    RE: Chisago Lakes communication regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) planning

    Dear Families and Staff, 
    We understand staff, parents, and students may have questions and concerns about the novel (new) coronavirus disease, now called COVID-19. 

    For Minnesotans, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is extremely low. As always, we recommend that people stay home when sick, cover their cough and practice good handwashing. These recommendations are especially important during the cold and flu season. 

    Chisago Lakes School District's response is guided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Please know that we are monitoring the situation and staying in contact with agencies who lead responses during a health event, including MDH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

    The MDH and CDC websites are helpful resources for families looking for relevant information regarding COVID-19 and can be found at and

    Chisago Lakes School District