The Pierz community has seen a sharp increase in positive COVID cases over the past few weeks. We posted some information last week to keep you informed and share the data that we see. We are adding more information to update you with our facts as of today, Thursday, March 25.
The District maintains the goal of in-person learning. We know it is the best learning model, and we believe we are doing the best service for the most students, even though clearly it creates added challenges and work for many staff.
The Schools are:
We embrace parenting and community support to help us continue to have school. That includes:
Thank you for helping us get this far and finish this final stretch. Thanks to all our staff who continue to show up nonstop to make it work and implement many added rules and duties that are out of our control.
We have about 40 days left in this school year; let’s finish strong together. The Pioneer Way is to confront challenges and overcome obstacles: that is the part we can control.
In the past two weeks, the Morrison County COVID numbers have continued to rise rapidly, with the Pierz area specifically being of concern.
There is a lot of misinformation circling currently. Here are the facts of this recent uptick so far:
On March 1: The Morrison County 14-day case rate was 13.9. Pierz zip code cases were at 5; Hillman, 0; Buckman, 0; ISD 484, 0 cases
On March 11: The Morrison County 14-day case rate jumped to 28.4. Pierz zip code cases were at 34; Hillman, 9; Buckman, 0; ISD 484, 12 cases
On March 18: The Morrison County 14-day Case rate is now at 50.75. Pierz zip code cases have jumped to 73; Hillman, 18, Buckman, 3; ISD 484 has 21 active cases in our buildings.
We should not be surprised that we are seeing this resurgence. We knew there were additional, more contagious, strains working their way across the United States. The virus is (still) in our community. We still need to take all the precautions: masks, hand washing, social distancing.
As of today, we have approximately 200 students out due to Covid infection or contact tracing. Students who are positive can come back 10 days after their symptoms began, or 10 days after their positive test if they are asymptomatic. Students who are contact traced can return to school after 7-14 days depending on their circumstances. We know this won’t last forever. We know we will have students returning soon.
We have worked hard to keep students in school. We need our families and community to continue to do the same. If you (or anyone in your home) have symptoms, stay home. If you have test results coming, stay home. If you test positive, stay home. And please--in all these scenarios, let the school nurse know. The more we all work together on this, the more we decrease the chance of spread, exposure and contact tracing.
And yet, we are very fortunate. With 133 staff fully vaccinated, we will be able to continue teaching in-person as our staff will not be required to leave due to contact tracing. We will get over this hump. There is light at the end of this tunnel. We have less than 50 days of school left this year; we can do this, Pioneers!
Due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases that have impacted the Pierz area, Pioneer Elementary School and Healy High School will not be in session on Friday, March 19, 2021.
We are taking this day to hopefully provide some relief relative to this rapid spread. This will also allow staff some much needed time to catch up from the challenges the last 10 days have created by the number of students not able to attend school.
Those staff who are saddled with the challenge of teaching students who are at home while teaching those students who are in school simply cannot meet that challenge adequately when the numbers get too large. This is why many districts have gone to permanent 4-day weeks or days off every other week, etc. We, instead, have tried to maximize our in-person time by running our normal school day every day. For the most part, that has been working well and we are getting the most instructional time with the most students. Our goal is to modify it only when we have to, which is what we are faced with now.
We apologize for this inconvenience. We hope this wave passes quickly. We are very, very thankful for the resilience our staff have shown by pushing through these challenges as much as possible and keeping our expectations of learning to a high standard.
We also are very, very thankful students are doing all they can to keep school in session despite the added rules placed upon us. The same thanks goes out to our parents. It is a challenge. It is unfair to be the victim of contact tracing. We can minimize how it affects learning progress by doing all we can to keep the school year rolling and try to get the most out of each day we have.
We (staff, students and parents) can take pride in what we have done. Our challenges have been less than many others. Our combined efforts have yielded very good results across many grade levels, courses, and activities.Compared to what was lost last March, April and May, this school year so far has been very successful. It is not over, but we have made it to mid-March. We have had complete activity seasons, competitions, recent concerts, and we still look forward to the musical next week.
We appear to be blessed with an early spring which may help get more activities outside which also hopefully helps decrease the spread. We remain steadfast in our goal to give our students the best year possible, and we will continue to go above and beyond to get the most out of this school year.
Over the last two weeks we have experienced a significant increase in the number of students and staff who are experiencing Covid symptoms and who are testing positive. Just over a week ago, we had a day with Zero Staff and Zero Students. Today we have 8 positive cases and dozens of other students who had to leave based upon the contact tracing rules.
It is important that we share this information with you so you can implement whatever steps you need to make sure your child can continue to attend school and continue to participate in events.
Pierz Schools have made the commitment to proceed with In-Person Learning, as it has proven to be the most effective method of teaching and learning.
We are committed to giving your children the total school experience, which includes Band, Choir, Musical Performance, FFA competitions, Speech Competitions, in addition to our other clubs and all of our Athletic teams.
We are proud of our staff and students who continue to implement a normal school year and a normal activities year, even though there are a number of rules and precautions and distancing type requirements that make every experience slightly different and slightly more challenging.
We have accepted the fact that there are rules from the MN Dept. of Education as well as the MN State High School League that we must follow regarding the conditions upon which we can teach students and the conditions upon which any activity can be played and implemented.
We instead focus on the enjoyment that we get to have school and the pride in our work to make it successful, despite everything all of us are being asked to do. The next few weeks are going to include Band Concerts, Choir Concerts, Musical, as well as playoffs for Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball and Wrestling. We are going to do everything we can to give your child the total school experience.
News and Updates
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