School Nurse Update - Student Testing RecommendationsPosted by Sheina Showen, RN, PHN, LSN on 4/1/2021 7:30:00 AM
Hello Hermantown School Community,
As we look forward to spring break next week, it is more important than ever that we continue to maintain vigilance regarding COVID-19 mitigation. Our partners at St. Louis County Public Health have reported an increase in COVID-19 cases in youth ages 5-19, some linked to participation in youth sports. Public Health Director Amy Westbrook requested that we share this letter with you.
Student Testing Recommendations
The new recommendation from the Minnesota Department of Health is that students test regularly for COVID-19 for the rest of the school year.
- Students actively participating in sports are recommended to test once every week and three days before any game or competition.
- Students not involved in sports or extracurriculars are encouraged to test once every two weeks for the remainder of the school year.
There are many options available for COVID-19 testing such as your healthcare provider or community testing sites. The MDH at home test kit program is another valuable resource for testing. Students are now able to send their Vault at-home tests back to the lab through their school on certain dates when drop off at a UPS store is problematic.
- Completed tests should be placed in the kit-enclosed biohazard bag inside the labeled, sealed shipping bags. These bags may be dropped off at your child's school office on the morning of staff saliva test dates.
- Our next scheduled testing date for staff is April 7 and these continue every 2 weeks.
- Please note: if your child is having symptoms, do not wait for a staff testing date to send in a sample for your child. Seek testing elsewhere right away.
Reminder- Quarantine for Close Contact
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 that includes options for shortening quarantine to either 7 or 10 days in certain situations if specific criteria are met. The criteria to be met with a shortened quarantine include the following points up through the full 14 days after close contact:
- Wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, wash hands, and avoid crowds or settings with people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure. If any symptoms occur, isolate from others right away and get tested.
There really is no way to ensure all of these criteria are met in a school setting, so at this time we do not plan to use the 7 or 10 day quarantine options for students.
Current recommendations from MDH states:
- Persons arriving in Minnesota from other states or countries, including returning Minnesota residents, are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendations in MDH’s Quarantine Guidance: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/quarguide.pdf practice self quarantine for 14 days after arrival by limiting their interactions to their immediate household.
- This recommendation does not apply to individuals who must cross state or country borders for work, study, medical care, or personal safety and security.
- Schools can determine if they will require any type of quarantine based on this recommendation.
- At this time, we do not plan to enforce a post-travel quarantine, however we strongly encourage utilization of COVID-19 testing surrounding travel. More information from MDH regarding travel guidance can be found here: https://staysafe.mn.gov/individuals-families/travel.jsp
- Daily symptom screening: Continue 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
Thank you for your support to help keep our community healthy and our schools open. We hope you have a safe and relaxing spring break!
Sheina Showen, RN, PHN, LSN
Hermantown School District Nurse
218-626-6015 (High School)
218-626-6111 (Elementary School)