COVID-19 Update: March 13, 2020
The Coronavirus, COVID-19, situation throughout Minnesota, the United States, and World continues to impact all of us and is continuously evolving. ISD 728 will continue to follow the expert guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). At this time, the two departments - using guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), continue to recommend that schools remain open. In addition, both organizations continue to stress common-sense illness prevention techniques such as staying home when sick, covering your cough, social distancing and using good handwashing techniques.
As of March 13, 2020 and per the Minnesota Department of Health and Department of Education, there are no confirmed cases within ISD 728 of students or staff contracting or having had direct exposure to COVID-19. Furthermore, the Department of Health stated there are no confirmed cases within Minnesota involving any school-aged child at this time.
ISD 728 leaders are committed to keeping students, staff and families informed about any new guidance received and information that becomes available. Based on guidance received March 13, 2020 from MDH, CDC, and MDE, ISD 728 will be implementing some preventative and additional measures to limit possible exposure and for the safety of our students, staff and community as described below.
Effective immediately and until April 10, 2020 unless further recommendations are made by the Department of Health or more information becomes available, ISD 728 will:
- Use hospital-grade disinfectant in common areas (i.e. bathrooms, drinking fountains, etc.).
- Continue practices related to increased sanitation and wellness strategies.
- Change food service operations to limit student touch of utensils and food products with bare hands.
- Adjust meal service by providing a modified menu and suspending the use of pin pads by students.
Access to Facilities
- Only allow ISD 728 personnel and contracted partners to enter schools. Visitors and volunteers will not be admitted to schools at this time with the following exception:
- Dropoff and pickup procedures for students remain the same, including those involved with Early Childhood and/or EdVenture Club.
- Cancel large school related events such as concerts, plays, and assemblies.
- Cancel all facility community-use events.
- Cancel student out of state travel.
- Cancel school field trips.
- Adhere to State guidance relating to athletic contests governed by the Minnesota State High School League: Spring Guidance, Website.
- Provide alternative formats for parent-teacher conferences scheduled for March 25-27, 2020. Please watch for communication from principals with building specific guidance.
- Cancel student recognition events at School Board meetings.
- Follow current attendance procedures. Please contact your child’s school if you have specific questions related to attendance.
- If your child has an underlying condition as identified by the CDC and is believed to be at a greater risk, please consult with your healthcare provider. School nurses, 504 teams, and IEP teams will support individualized student plans.
MDH, CDC and Notification
In the event an individual associated with ISD 728 was or becomes infected, both the MDH and CDC would contact District administration. MDH would also determine if a health threat existed, who and when to test, and issue directives to the individual and ISD 728 to address the threat. In that situation, ISD 728 officials would modify plans according to the guidance received and communicate information at that time. Currently, the CDC is monitoring, examining and addressing risks of the Coronavirus from those individuals who are entering the United States or who otherwise present a health risk.
The CDC recommends that schools explore the feasibility of social distancing to slow and/or stop the spread of COVID-19. We are exploring and implementing this strategy to the best of our ability.
Closures / Communication
In the event that the situation changes and we are advised by MDH and MDE to close schools due to COVID-19, ISD 728 will communicate using its inclement weather protocol. Families are encouraged to ensure their contact information is accurate in Infinite Campus to ensure timely communication.
In the event schools are closed, more information about educational services and support will be provided.
- ACT and MCA testing will continue as planned.
- ISD 728 currently has an E-learning Plan that has been approved by the School Board and State. However, per statute, school districts can only use E-Learning for situations related to inclement weather. As a result, the District will continue to develop alternative plans and work with State Officials to explore options such as but not limited to distance learning and staggered schedules.
Other District Programs
Community Education Early Childhood programs, Youth Enrichment and Recreation, Adult Enrichment & Fitness, Adult Basic Education, and EdVenture Club will follow the District’s plan. In the event of a shutdown, programs will be rescheduled and/or families will be provided credit for future programs. Community Education will communicate any program-specific changes with participants.
School safety remains our top concern, and we will continue to communicate information as the situation unfolds.
Listed below are some links that you may find helpful regarding COVID-19.
- Talking with your children about COVID-19
- MDH Recommendations for Schools and Child Care
- MDH Latest COVID-19 Updates
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
We recognize that during this evolving situation, staff, students and families will experience a significant disruption to the daily routine and experiences in our schools. We appreciate your support as we work through this unprecedented experience in our communities together.