Pierz School District was able to procure BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen self-testing kits for our students and staff to access free of charge. The test is completed at home with rapid results without the need to ship samples to a lab or for a prescription from your healthcare provider. We are not allowed to administer the test at school. If anyone in your home is positive or if your students are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, please keep your students home and email Robyn Skwira for more information and to request a test kit.
Our goal is to keep in-person school going all year. This is an important mission. Our biggest challenge in meeting that goal will be if the COVID-19 virus spreads in our schools, and we do not have staff to manage a normal school day. Let us all do what we can to slow the spread for the benefit of all our staff, students, and families.
At halftime of the Sept 24, 2021 Homecoming football game vs Rockford, Pierz High School will be introducing their latest members of the Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame. The new members include: Craig Luberts - Class of 2004; Kyle Bednar - Class of 2006; Jamie Talberg - Class of 2006 ; Kristin (Sczublewski) Egan - Class of 2007 ; Kaari (Jensen) Epperly Class of 2009; Clint Poster - Class of 2011 ; Leo Pohlkamp - Coach. There will be a reception in the middle school gym immediately after the game. The public is invited. Congratulations to all the inductees and their families!
It sure feels good to be back in the building with our students and fellow staff. We have missed the smiles and camaraderie that being together in a learning environment brings. We have had just a handful of days in the classroom so far this year, but paired with beautiful weather, motivated staff, and excited students--it's been some pretty wonderful first days.
We've also been fortunate to welcome nearly 30 new staff members to the Pierz Schools family. Almost all areas have gained a new face and with that a new perspective to share with us. To meet them all, click here. If you see them in their new community, don't be a stranger! Welcome them to this corner of the world that we get to call home.
Lastly, we can't ignore the elephant in the room: we remain diligent in our steps to ensure the health and wellness of our staff and students. Students and staff are welcomed to wear masks, hand sanitizing stations are still maintained, and teachers encourage social distancing and outdoor classes and activities. Masks are required on all busses. If your child or family members have symptoms of COVID, please contact the district nurse and make plans to keep them home for the recommended period. We can only keep in-person learning going if we can keep our students and staff healthy. We already have a number of reported positive cases and those parents of students in close contact will be notified (by the email the district has on file) so parents can make the best choice for their student. Same-household siblings of a positive case will also be required to quarantine. Please be diligent in monitoring your students for signs of illness.
Parent Information on Covid Protocols
Minnesota Department of Education has determined that the decisions regarding Covid Protocols and Distance Learning are to be made at the local School Board level this coming school year, as opposed to the Statewide Rulemaking that was implemented last year, with the exception of School Busing.
Masks will not be required in District 484 buildings. The district and staff are very supportive of those who choose to wear one. We support and accept all who choose to wear a mask in our schools and on our properties. Bullying of any person for reasons of mask wearing will be dealt with under the district’s bullying policy.
Close Contact Quarantine
The District will not be removing students or staff from school based upon close contacts with positive COVID-19 cases. Schools MUST report positive test results in accordance with MN Rule 4605.7070 (called Red Cap report) and require we report a case, name, grade, etc.
Parents will be notified via email if your child is considered a close contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19 among the students or adults working with your child.
Parents are provided this information so they can determine the best decision for their child and family.
Excused and unexcused absences will be managed using existing school policies. Covid related absences will be considered school excused.
Parents please do not send a child to school who is showing any signs of respiratory illness, coughing, sinus infection, etc. The school will be sending students home who present illness. Students are welcome back at school once their symptoms subside.
Student process as related to Positive Covid Cases
What are we required to do with a positive case of Covid?
a) That case must be reported to MDH.
b) Student must isolate for 10 days and return on day 11.
Student work will be provided to all children while they are home.
Loss of Taste and Smell is an almost universal indicator of Covid;
Therefore, when a student reports loss of taste and smell, it will be treated as a positive case of Covid, with the exception that a confirmed negative test, within the recommended testing time frame, would result in the student being allowed to return to school immediately.
Requirements for Students who are living within the same household of a student who has tested positive for Covid. Parent is advised to contact the school nurse to review the expectations.
-If the student is vaccinated, they may attend school unless they are showing symptoms of Covid, then they follow all current student illness protocols as outlined in the School Health Policy.
-Or, if a student is not vaccinated, and is symptom free for 5 days after exposure from a household positive, and the student then tests negative, they may return to school on day 8.
-Or, if a student tests negative, but has symptoms, review School Health Policy.
-Or, if a student does not produce a negative test, then they may return to school on day 11 of being symptom free.
Student work will be provided to all children while they are home.
Update on Busing
Public School Transportation is considered under the umbrella of all Public Transportation and not under the jurisdiction of MN Dept of Education. Therefore, MDE is not able to transfer that authority to local School Boards. Masks are still required on Public Transportation including all school bus routes. This is a Federal mandate we and every other school in Minnesota, private or public, is required to implement.
Pierz is adding another bus route to create more convenience for our students.
Our In-Town policy will change from last year. We will pick up students on the west side of Main Street this year, as well as pick up children at the licensed day care providers east of main street. Health experts highly encourage walking to school. It is a great way to get the brain ready for learning.
Bus routes are being developed right now and the Bus Route Drivers will be contacting parents later next week (those first few dates in September) to verify pick up and drop off times. As always, these are estimates as our routes change daily based upon preschool schedules and other factors. Parents and children should be ready 3 to 5 minutes prior to the pick up time.
Pioneer Elementary staff will walk students across Park Avenue and Kamnic Street after school.
Parent Drop Off Information
Students in grades PK-6 can be dropped off by door 20 of Pioneer, the “Student drop off/ pick up” door, between 7:30am and 8:15am. Students who wish to eat breakfast should arrive by 8:00am.
Students in grades 7-12 can enter door 7 (behind Healy) or door 3 (front of Healy) starting at 7:30am. Door 3 is the bus drop off point, if you as a parent are dropping off , please pull up to door 2 to avoid the busses.
Click here for a map of parking lots and where to drop off and pick up students.
End of day student pick up will be similar to last year. Parents will use the Remind app to notify staff when they arrive.
After reviewing the new recommendations this week from the CDC and MDE, the school board discussed our fall policy at their meeting on Wednesday. At this time, Pierz Schools will not be requiring masks for students or staff at any grade level this coming school year.
We will continue to be vigilant in our sanitizing and have invested in upgrades to our air quality standards.
We support any students or staff who prefer to wear a mask.
When the Minnesota Department of Education accepted the Federal Rescue (ESSER) money, each district accepting these dollars is required to post a plan for their the 2021-22 school year.
Pierz Schools is excited to look forward to the coming school year. To view the statement required to post, click here.
Our state and our nation is going through some challenging conversations and even self-reflection regarding how we treat one another as citizens regardless of where we come from and what we look like. Today our governor asked that all Minnesota residents pause to consider our role in making things better for everyone or anyone from this day forward. It is good for all of us, me included, to have these reminders from time to time. I contend that the reason we have Presidents Day honoring Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, or the reason we have MLK day honoring Martin Luther King, is that they remind us of why we are a nation in the first place, and remind us of the words in the Declaration of Independence, that we are obligated to implement in how we treat anyone, and everyone, every day. We can do our part in knowing what those words are and do our part to help everyone feel valued as a person.
— Superintendent George Weber
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!
News and Updates