Pandemic Preparedness and Readiness Plan 2021-22 Academic Year
Last May, we closed out the school year optimistic about our ability to significantly modify COVID-19 health and safety policies for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. As we now move into full preparations for the new school year, we recognize that COVID-19 still poses risks for our community. At the same time, the circumstances are very different from last year. You may have read that the State of Minnesota no longer legally mandates specific COVID-19 mitigation strategies for schools. As we maintain vigilance, our school will still need to implement a health and safety plan to mitigate the spread of all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
****We are prudentially evaluating all public health recommendations and implementing those that will best serve our students, staff, and entire community. Our protocols may change at any time.
Face Coverings: Masks are required for all K-8 students and adults, however, parents may submit in writing if they want a mask exemption for their child. Parents and guardians are well positioned to determine if their child should wear a face covering while outside of the home and out in the community. Although the mask debate has become divisive within the broader community, that debate cannot spill over into our school community affecting our students’ abilities to learn. Families should do what is best for them, knowing that we expect all in the SHCS community to respect and honor the choice each family makes. We fully anticipate that there will be students who will choose to wear masks, and we fully support that decision.
Face Coverings on the Bus
All people are required by an Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear face coverings while in public transportation hubs and on all public transportation conveyances (airplanes, public buses, etc.), including school buses (both public and private).
Stay Home When Sick
Last year, families cooperated with us and kept their students home when sick. This will continue to be the expectation this year in order to keep our community safe. Parents will be expected to do a health check of their children each morning before sending them to school. Students must stay home if any of the following symptoms are present:
- Temperature over 100.4 degrees
- Excessive coughing
- Severe headache
- Sore throat
- Severe muscle pain
- Loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath
The responsibility for contact tracing lies with trained professionals at Minnesota Department of Health. Catholic schools will assist MDH by providing relevant information when requested.
The Minnesota Department of Health no longer requires individuals who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine. However, with the freedom of a mask-optional policy comes the increased responsibility to care for the health and safety of our students. We are continuing to review quarantine guidance, and will share with you details for quarantine as they are finalized in the coming weeks.
Individuals will continue to be encouraged to maintain social distancing throughout the day. Within the classrooms, we will work to maintain as much space as possible between desks and students, but do not have a required minimum.
Promoting Behaviors That Reduce the Spread of Disease
- Staff will teach and reinforce proper handwashing hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Students and staff will wash hands before entering the classroom in the morning, before and after eating, after using the restroom and other times deemed necessary.
- In determining when students may return to school after an illness, schools will follow their standard illness exclusion policy (e.g. fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication) unless a student has a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19. Students with lab- confirmed cases of COVID-19 are allowed to return to school when all of the following are true (Minnesota Department of Health, 2021):
- Their cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms have substantially improved;
- It has been at least 7 days since they first felt sick or tested positive;
- They have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers.
- As a school, we will no longer send school-wide notifications of lab-confirmed cases. However, families will be notified if they have a student that is in a classroom with a lab-confirmed case.
- Employees will follow the same illness-exclusion policies.
- Student attendance policy incentives will be eliminated which might cause a student to come to school when ill (e.g.,“perfect attendance awards”).
- SHCS will follow MDH Decision Tree for Schools to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A new decision tree is coming soon.
- Drinking fountains will only be available by using the water bottle fillers. Students are asked to bring a water bottle each day.
- Please make sure your child can open all items in their cold lunch to eliminate others from touching their lunch and spreading disease.
Maintaining Healthy Facilities
- Regular maintenance checks will be performed on our HVAC equipment to make sure the ventilation systems are operating properly and air is circulating.
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be followed.
- We will ensure safe and correct use of cleaning and disinfecting products, including storing products securely away from children and using products that meet EPA disinfecting criteria.
Maintaining Healthy Operations
- All COVID-19 cases in the school must be reported to the MN Dept. of Health (MDH).
- Group events and gatherings will be evaluated on a case by case basis to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- School masses and other liturgical services will follow the Archdiocesan protocols published by the Office of Worship. Our students will attend mass on Fridays at 8:00 a.m. and students will only sit with their class.
- We will continue with spirit buddies this year, but buddies will only gather outside for activities.
- All visitors and vendors will report to the parish reception desk.Parents will have limited access inside our school building. Parents may drop off items on the table located in the entry way of Door 8. We are allowing essential visitors in our building. For the safety of our students, we are asking unvaccinated visitors to wear a face covering
- PreK drop off and pick up will be in the entry way of Door 8. Teachers will walk children
to the classroom.
- All staff members will be trained on the requirements of the school PPRP Plan.
- Parents will be updated on information pertaining to our PPRP Plan, along with any revisions made throughout the year.
- We will only offer in-person learning this year.
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and siblings that are required to quarantine will be allowed to learn virtually.
- We will continue with our AM car drop off and pick up procedures as last year.(No car numbers this year).
AM: 7:15-7:30 a.m. After 7:30 a.m., drop off will be at door 8. PreK-1st grade and siblings will be dropped off at Door 8 behind the school. Grades 2-8 will be dropped off at the Hubbard parking lot and safety patrols will be present at the corner to cross Note: All students need to be in their classroom by 7:30 a.m. or students will be marked tardy. It is important for students to be on time for school to begin the day in prayer and classes begin promptly at 7:30 a.m.
PM: PreK and Kindergarten students and siblings will be picked up at Door 8 at 2:05 pm. Parents will make a car line and teachers will walk your child to the car. Grades 1-8 car parents will create a car line on 40 ½ Ave N and Hubbard Ave. Once the buses leave the curb in front of school, parents will be directed to pull their car in a line in front of school. Students will walk to your car and we will keep the car line moving for quick pick-up.
- Students will be attending specialist classrooms such as music, art, STEM, etc.
Middle School students will be traveling to their classes.
TRAVEL—-Be mindful of COVID-19 symptoms when you return from your travels. If your child develops any COVID-19 symptoms, keep your child home from school and get tested and/or quarantine.
We are currently planning for all extracurricular activities to resume. Parents will be allowed as spectators at events.
Family Health Checklist
Please complete this each morning before sending your child to school. Together, we can work to help mitigate the spread. If you answer YES to any of these questions about your child or yourself, please keep you child home and contact your healthcare provider and the school (763-537-1329).
- Do you have a fever of 100.4 or higher, without having taken any fever reducing medications.
- Do you have a loss of smell or taste?
- Do you have a cough, muscle aches, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills or a headache?
- Do you have a stomachache, diarrhea, nausea, or a loss of appetite?
- Have you or anyone you have been in close contact with recently been diagnosed with COVID-19?
Protocols for COVID-19
The following protocols align with references from the MN Dept. of Health (MDH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and other local physician recommendations.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, it must be reported to the school office promptly. The sick person should follow MDH protocols immediately, separate from others, and monitor for symptoms, such as; fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell.
Parents and guardians will be noticed if their child is in a class with a positive COVID-19 case. Sacred Heart will contact MDH and follow their recommendations and possibly begin contact tracing and/or quarantine the class.
Those sick or symptomatic with COVID-19 must stay home until all three of these things are true:
- You feel better. Your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better.
- It has been 10 days since you first felt sick.
- You have had no fever for the last three days (72 hours) without using medicine that lowers fevers.
COVID-19 Symptoms and Returning to School
Students or staff members who go home and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, should not return to school until they obtain a negative COVID-19 test or have an alternate diagnosis with a doctor’s letter. If they go home with COVID-19 symptoms and do not seek medical care, they must stay home for 10 days.