Happy New Year! We are looking forward to transitioning students back to school starting in a hybrid schedule over the next few weeks! The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have recently released several updates to guidance for schools. I have noted some updates for you to be aware of moving forward.
Updated School COVID-19 Documents
MDH updated the COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth and Child Care Programs. This document guides decision-making for when to stay home and seek COVID-19 testing and when to isolate and quarantine in various situations. The basic guidelines of the decision tree are the same, but the formatting has changed and shortened quarantine times are briefly addressed (see below for more information on this topic).
MDH released Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 back in December that included options for shortening quarantine to either 7 or 10 days in certain situations if certain criteria are met. Some of the criteria to be able to return to activity after a shorter quarantine period involve maintaining a strict 6 feet of distance and monitoring for any symptoms until the full 14 days are completed. This may be problematic to ensure that these criteria are met, so at this time we do not plan to use these options for students.
“Close contacts among riders (children and staff) who were on the bus with a person who is positive for COVID-19 include those who were in the same row, two rows ahead, and the two rows behind the positive person for 15 minutes or more cumulatively, unless:
Riders are not in their assigned seat (i.e., moving about the bus to socialize with others) for the entire ride (roundtrip if applicable); or
There is no documentation or other ability to confirm seating assignments; or
Riders were engaged in activities that involved removal of face coverings (e.g., eating and drinking).
If one or more of the above considerations (1-3) are true, then all riders would be considered close contacts of the person who is positive for COVID-19.”
AAP Return to Play Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released recommendations regarding COVID-19 in children and adolescents playing sports or exercising. The COVID-19 Interim Guidance: Return to Sports document includes the recommendation that after a child has tested positive for and recovered from COVID-19, they should be cleared by a physician before exercising. The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) oversees this recommendation for high school sports, but this should be considered for all ages of students for physical education as well as sports. If you have a child that has tested positive for COVID-19, consider consulting with their physician before they return to any exercise.
Daily symptom screening: As we plan for returning to hybrid learning, remember to screen your children daily for any symptoms before they come to school and keep them home if there are any symptoms found per the MDH Decision Tree.
Reporting test results and quarantines: Please continue to report to your child’s school any COVID-19 test results or quarantine status for your child. We track this information for attendance and follow the Decision Tree guidelines for when children may return to school. The phone numbers to call for reporting are listed below.
Hermantown High School Nurse: 218-626-6015
Hermantown Middle School Nurse: 218-626-6211
Hermantown Elementary School Nurse: 218-626-6111
As always, we appreciate your support as we work together to bring our students back and keep our school community as safe as possible.
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