As the first day of school is quickly approaching, it seems that we are hearing more and more about COVID again in our state, our health district, and even Fillmore County. We continue to monitor and follow trends in our area and state.
As you know, we have put our Fall Planning Framework and information explaining some of our mitigation strategies on our website. I’ve included that information at the end of this letter. Our goal is to keep students safely in school.
At this time, we are not requiring students or staff to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status. Masks are optional, but this could change due to positive cases in our schools, community, and health district area. Even though masks aren’t required at this time, I do anticipate some of our staff and students beginning the year wearing masks.
Students and staff that test positive will need to isolate and not be at school during their isolation period. Students or staff that have close contact with positive cases should self-monitor for symptoms. If students quarantine due to a close contact or if they need to isolate due to a positive test, we will provide remote learning during that time as we did last year. We will attempt to alert you if/when your child has had a high risk exposure from someone that tests positive at school.
One thing that you can do that will really help us is to keep your student home should they not feel well. Many of the symptoms of COVID are also symptoms of colds, flu, allergies, etc. This makes things difficult to determine without a test if a person has COVID. I don’t want to sow fear, but I also want to try and prevent spread due to students/staff coming to school knowingly not feeling well. Let’s err on the side of caution when it comes to symptoms.
We know that layering mitigation strategies give us the best chance of keeping students in school. Please continue to promote hand-washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, social distancing when possible, and screening for symptoms.
We will get through this again together. Let’s have a great school year!
Important Information for our Back to School Plan
The document is on our school website. It is important to note that this plan was developed and posted on July 13, 2021 with the information and trends that were known at that time. This is a living document and may change throughout the year as we get new information, guidance from the CDC, Public Health Solutions, or what we are experiencing in our own county and in each of our school buildings. We want to keep students and staff safe and at school, and at the same time give them as “normal” of a school year as we can.
The following proactive mitigation practices will continue to be in place at the start of the 2021-22 school year:
- Frequent Cleaning of high touch surfaces
- Promotion of good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette practices
- Continuing to provide sanitizing stations at entrances and throughout the schools
- Requesting that students and staff continue to self-screen before coming to school each day.
- Requesting that parents of our younger students continue to screen them before sending them to school each day.
- Encouraging students and staff to stay home when they feel sick.
- Continuing contact tracing after a student or staff has tested positive.
- Complying with Public Health Solutions isolation and quarantine decisions
- Consideration for physical distancing in classroom layouts
The following are enhanced mitigation practices that may be needed if we see elevated risk in our schools/communities, the increase in positive cases within our schools, or outbreaks. Students, staff, and families would be notified of the potential changes listed below. These could be implemented at a class, grade, or school level. These changes might not have to be initiated district wide depending on trends and current data. These enhanced practices would be used in order to keep school open.
- Required use of face masks
- Lunch table barriers
- Lunch schedules adjusted
- Cohorting students in indoor settings
- Postponement/Cancellation of assemblies, field trips, other large indoor non-extracurricular gatherings
- Temporary loss of lunch visitors, Teammates, other in person visitors
- Increased spacing when possible
- Increased frequency of hand washing
- Activity temperature checks
As we continue to plan for different contingencies this year, we are hopeful that we can provide our students and staff a safe and as “normal” of a school year as we can. You can really help us by screening your students every day prior to sending them to school and having them stay home when they are sick until you can rule out COVID 19.
Let’s have a great year!