This information is provided so parents and students have a place to go specifically regarding how our schools are required to manage Covid cases and provide you some additional information.
We certainly expect and support anyone with questions to consult their family physician or other medical providers who would have more detailed information regarding your personal conditions or questions.
What happens if there is a case identified in a school?
There are certainly different rules for schools compared to other businesses, not only for our students but also for our staff. In our world, if anyone in a home tests positive, we cannot allow anyone from that home in our schools. So it impacts our staffing capacity all the time.
In the end, most MDH guidelines are centered around stopping any spread. Any place where people gather is a place of high risk of spreading. Our state cannot really govern social gatherings, but they can assert control over schools.
We understand and are living out with you the frustrations of implementing the myriad of MDH expectations for all these scenarios. In the end, the philosophy of MDH is to stop the spread no matter what. So from their perspective; the sacrifices we have to make, in terms of missing school, or being short staffed, or having to teach remotely, or finding childcare and all the other challenges handed us, are all part of our collective effort to stop the virus from spreading. That is their number one priority.
We understand that priority, even if we do not always like what it means in terms of our options.
Why is Hybrid any better than bringing in all the students?
It is the only way a school can comply with the Social Distancing rules. Classrooms are not large enough to seat a classroom of students and keep them 6 feet apart, but if we cut the numbers in half we could hold classes with desks spread apart and make it through a school day complying with the social distance rules at least to some degree. Of course, for each student, it is contingent upon how the students manage themselves all day long in and out of the classroom.
What can Parents and Community Members do to help?
Obviously the number one priority is the safety and health of all in your household. We understand that alone can be challenging with jobs and school and children’s needs and household needs and everything that entails.
But above and beyond that, there are a few things that would make a big difference in terms of helping keep our schools open. We will highlight a few:
Busing -- There is no way around the fact that a Bus ride requires students to be within 6 feet for much longer than 15 minutes. So it will always be one of our ongoing challenges this entire school year. We have asked all in-town students to walk. That is sacrifice when the child is very young. But even that change, and even the terrific help many are showing by bringing in and picking up children still puts lots of students on our buses.
So, any help family and community can provide to bring children to school and home from school will make a big difference. It will help keep your own and many more children in school.
Social Events Outside of School -- One school in our area had an entire wave of cases stem from a large slumber party. We absolutely understand the struggle to give our children what they want. We absolutely respect that these are parental choices to make. But this is a time when we have to weigh everything. All of us do, as our staff are in the same dilemma every hour of every day. So each time we host a gathering for our children or anyone in our home attends social events and locations we are always managing the risk of bringing the virus into our homes. We all hope somehow the school year is able to happen as much and as long as possible without Distance Learning as the only option, and the potential loss of activities. So as we have these conversations with the children and adults in our homes, we are weighing the fun of one event against the potential loss of other events.
Outdoors if Possible -- We understand it is Minnesota -- and now we are losing our summer. But anything outside with lots of fresh air always, getting rid of the viral load in the air around us, is far, far better, if there needs to be a social gathering. In some respects, that might be the difference between our summer of very low county numbers compared to what is happening now.