2020-2021 School Year

Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked to plan our Explorers school aged care for the 2020-21 school year. We are pleased to share that we will be offering Explorers in a modified format to meet current safety and social distancing requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Because of the changes in how our program will be offered, we have nullified all previous School Year 2020-2021 school aged care (K-5) contracts and ask that all families who would like to utilize Explorers please go online to request care by Monday, August 24 at 11:59 pm. Requests will be approved on a space available basis. Priority approvals will first go to Tier 1 Critical Workers, then to customers who held a previously approved School Year 2020-2021 contract and then to new Explorers families.


Who qualifies for free Child Care as a Critical Worker Tier 1 Family?

Executive Order 20-82 indicates that a school district or charter school that operates a hybrid or distance learning model “must provide school-aged care for Eligible Children at no cost during the time those children are not receiving instruction in the school building during regular school hours.” The school-age care for children of critical workers is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is at home, due to employment as a critical worker. Tier 1 critical workers registered by the deadline will receive priority.

Who Qualifies as Tier 1:

Tier I: for more details on what is included in each sector is attached: 

  • Healthcare and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Judicial Branch (essential services)
  • National Guard (activated under a Governor Executive Order)
  • Educators in pre-K through grade 12 settings
  • School staff caring for children of critical workers
  • Child care and school-age care providers

Is before and after school care free for Critical Workers?

No, children of Tier I workers will only receive free care during the child’s typical school hours. Before and after school care is available for a fee.  

What safety enhancements and modifications can we expect from Explorers?

  • Per MDH/MDE Guidelines students will be assigned to a group. There will be one adult to 15 children. We will work to try and keep children who interact together in the school day together. We, however, cannot guarantee that groups from school will remain intact in Explorers or that groups in Explorers will not change throughout the year.
  • Per MDH/MDE Guidelines the number of people on playgrounds, gyms and all other common areas will be limited.
  • There will be no field trips this school year.
  • Explorers will provide individually packaged breakfast and snack.
  • Per MDH/MDE Guidelines, Explorers staff are required to wear face masks while working. Children in Kindergarten and older are also required to wear masks during their time in Explorers.       
  • Per MDH/MDE Guidelines temperatures will be taken as students arrive into our care both in the morning before school and between school and Explorers. Staff temperatures are taken at the start of each shift.
  • To limit exposure, families will not be coming into the building. Explorers staff will facilitate drop off and pick up from your vehicle.
  • We will practice enhanced sanitizing and cleaning procedures.
  • We will implement an increased handwashing schedule.
  • Per MDH/MDE we will practice an enhanced sick policy and follow MDH’s Decision Tree for People with COVID-19 Symptoms in Youth, Student, and Child Care Programs
  • In an effort to be transparent regarding our plans in the event that a student attending, or a staff member working, at Explorer’s has a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, we will follow MDH’s recommendations regarding closure, which is done on a case-by-case basis. In general, closing recommendations would be between 2-5 days and a deep cleaning of the school would occur following CDC environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. If a current Explorer’s site needs to be closed, the program would be relocated to an alternate site and parents would be notified immediately.

What if we already registered for the 2020-2021 school year?

The contracts previously created will not be honored because there have been many changes to our programming for this year. You will need to re-register for 2020-21. Your new contract will be approved based on space availability and the order of contract approval will be based on the date/time you registered in February 2020.

If we registered before will be need to pay an additional registration fee?

The registration fee you have already paid will be transferred to your new contract and you will not be charged this fee again.

If we choose to not re-register, will we receive a refund of our registration fee?

No, registration fees paid previously are non-refundable.

Will Explorers be providing child care on scheduled non-school days?

Yes, we will be providing child care. Registration for these dates is done separately from before and after school care. Please note that on non-school days the bubbles we create will not be maintained as we will be combining schools for care.

What happens if the District’s instructional model changes?

Our ability to provide care will change if we move to a different model of fully distance learning or full in-person learning. If we make these changes during the school year, we will provide updates on how we are able to continue to serve your family.

If we elect to do distance learning can we still utilize Explorers?

No, if you elect to do distance learning you are not eligible for Explorers in the Hybrid model.

If we elect to do distance learning in the first quarter and then change to in-person learning will we be able to register for Explorers?

Yes, you will be able to request child care and contracts will be approved based on space availability.

Junior Explorers and Explorers are high quality childcare programs for children, ages three through fifth grade (school year) and ages 4 through fifth grade (summer). At Explorers, we provide children opportunities to learn through a wide variety of activities such as art, music, science projects, cooking, games, writing, reading, crafts, outdoor play, computers, practicing social skills, gym time, dramatic play, and much more! There is a balance of activity options that includes large group, small group, and individual choices.
Minnetonka Community Education Explorers programs are NAEYC Accredited and are 4-Star Rated by Minnesota Childcare Agencies. In addition, all six of our elementary programs have earned accreditation through MnSACA MAAP.

school year site Contacts

Clear Springs
Brittany Bell
Before School: 6:30 - 8:40 a.m.
After School: 3:20 - 6 p.m.

Lisa Wermerskirchen
Before School: 6:30 - 8 a.m.
After School: 2:40 - 6 p.m.

Susie Wolter
Before School: 6:30 - 8:40 a.m.
After School: 3:20 - 6 p.m.

Scenic Heights
Cody Hallahan
Before School: 6:30 - 8:40 a.m.
After School: 3:20 - 6 p.m.

Kathleen Frazier
Before School: 6:30 - 8 a.m.
After School: 2:40 - 6 p.m.

Minnetonka Community Education Center
Sarah Davis and Brenda Broveleit
Junior/Kindergarten Program: 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Shelby Rue
Before School: 6:30 - 8:40 a.m.
After School: 3:20 - 6 p.m.

Steve Gackstetter
Before School: 6:30 - 8:00 a.m.
After School: 3:20 - 6 p.m.

Administrative Contacts

Explorers Program Manager
Molly Bahneman

Explorers Specialist
Becca Mills

Youth Programs Coordinator
Jenny Bodurka

Explorers Billing & Enrollment
Mary Hall

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K-5 Explorers: Please note that there is a $45 registration fee per child, which is non-refundable.

Summer Explorers: Please note that there is a $45 registration fee per child, which is non-refundable.

Junior Explorers: Please note there is a $200 fee due at the time of registration approval. $75 of this fee is a non-refundable registration fee. The remaining $125 is a deposit for care that will be applied to your first months invoice as a credit.


Molly Bahneman
Program Manager
(952) 401-6824

Minnetonka Community Education Center
4584 Vine Hill Road
Deephaven, MN 55331

Hours: 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays

Additional Contacts by School

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