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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  The new year begins Monday for Rochester Public Schools. But it will be a different start compared to past years.

In the words of RPS communications executive director Heather Nessler, “This is not a typical start.”

Nessler says many elementary schools will participate in a “Step Into Learning” program.

"This is a 2-day event where students and their parents create 1:1 appointments at the school for relationship building, etc. There are a few elementary schools that are starting on Monday, including Riverside. Middle and high schools have different programming on Monday because 6th and 9th graders will become familiar with the buildings, schedules, etc."

On Tuesday all RPS secondary sites will open with regular schedules. All elementary schools and kindergarten classes will begin their regular schedule on Wednesday.


Wednesday also marks the opening of the newest RPS school.

Overland Elementary (2300 Overland Dr NW) will mostly accommodate students from Harriet Bishop during its first year. A new Bishop school is currently being built and is scheduled to open next year. Nessler says some neighborhood students within walking distance of Overland are also expected to attend this year.

The new year will also begin with a pandemic-related mandate. Face coverings will be required while in all RPS sites and motor vehicles. RPS recently released an in-depth plan to address the pandemic as the new year begins.

The new year also begins with a new superintendent.

Kent Pekel

The School Board in May hired Kent Pekel (puh KELL) as interim superintendent. He succeeded Michael Munoz who resigned at the end of June, ending a 10 year run as head of the state’s 7th largest school district.

News update:  More rain in 3 state region than anywhere else in the US.

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