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2022-23 COVID-19 Operational Plan

2022-2023 COVID-19 Operational Plan for Students, Families & Visitors to Schools

Introduction

District 196 is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for each employee, student, parent and visitor to our buildings. This operational plan identifies and explains the guidelines to help ensure we have a safe and healthy learning environment, and help mitigate transmission of COVID-19 in our school communities during the 2022-23 school year. This plan will be updated to reflect any shift in protocol, guidance and/or requirements. 

Our primary focus continues to be the education of our students, while integrating health and safety  responses into our existing pre-pandemic public health support. The district will continue to support the recommendations of public health agencies. We look forward to our continued partnership in this school year, and we remain committed to educational success and keeping our learning communities safe.

Additional mitigation strategies may be implemented in schools or programs using a “scalpel approach,” or localized tailored response, in which multiple positive cases are identified over a short period of time; this could include remote learning and a masking requirement. Families should be prepared to shift learning models quickly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strongly recommends vaccinations when eligible. For more information about vaccinations and to schedule an appointment, visit the MDH website. It is strongly recommended that families and students get tested regularly. Find a testing site near you by visiting MDH website.

We recommend every student and family regularly review the following:

  1. This COVID-19 operational plan and take responsibility to follow its recommendations and requirements;
  2. The Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website for updated guidance, and
  3. The CDC Guidance for COVID-19, which includes recommendations for those who are ill.

This plan is updated as needed, and follows all applicable executive orders, and current guidance and standards from the MDH, Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the CDC, and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Submit questions to covid19@district196.org.

District 196 will take a scalpel approach to outbreaks within a classroom, grade level, or school building when possible. Additional mitigation measures could include remote learning and recommended masking.

Sections

  1. Assessing, Handling and Preventing Illness

  2. Food and Nutrition Services 

  3. Transportation

  4. Technology and Internet Access 

  5. Athletics, Activities, Enrichment and Community Facility Use

  6. Mental Health and Wellness

1. Assessing, Handling and Preventing Illness

Public health agencies and the CDC will continue to provide the guidance found in this plan. The district is required to submit weekly reports of all positive COVID-19 cases to MDH. All families are required to report their student(s) positive test results to their building. As with any illness, it is important you stay home when you are sick. 

Assessing and Handling Illness

Known Exposure, Experiencing Symptoms or Asymptomatic

Anyone who has been identified as a close contact and is experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days after onset of symptoms and get tested immediately.

Anyone who has been identified as a close contact and is not experiencing symptoms should also wear a mask for 10 days after exposure but wait to get tested until day 5. 

Positive COVID-19 Test|

  • If a person tests positive for COVID-19:
  • When to return after a positive test:
    • A student may return on day 6 if symptoms have improved AND they have been fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication.
    • If COVID symptoms recur or worsen, restart your isolation at day 0.

    • Those ending isolation before day 10 should wear a mask in public, including at school, until the end of the 10-day period.

All families are required to report their student(s) positive test results to their building. Each building is required to submit weekly reports with their positive COVID-19 cases to MDH. Reports to MDH only provide de-identified information, meaning individual students are not identified in the report submitted.

Additional mitigation strategies may be implemented in schools or programs using a “scalpel approach,” or localized tailored response,  in which multiple positive cases are identified over a short period of time; this could include remote learning and a masking requirement. Families should be prepared to shift learning models quickly.

Preventing Illness

Testing

CDC recommends getting tested for COVID-19 when experiencing symptoms or when exposed to COVID-19. Review the MDH COVID-19 Testing Recommendations to help determine when/if you need to be tested. Find a testing site near you by visiting the MDH website. Check with your school for availability of take-home tests.

Face Coverings and Masks

According to the CDC, people may choose to wear a mask at any time, based on personal preference or personal risk. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask, especially if they are at school. Masks will be available at all buildings.

Vaccinations

CDC recommends staying up to date on vaccinations and boosters. Find your vaccine through the MDH Vaccine Finder. The district will also continue to host on-site voluntary vaccination clinics for those interested.

Hygiene and Cleaning Practices

Proper hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing with soap and water, cleaning hands using hand sanitizer and disinfecting surfaces will be implemented and taught at all schools.

  • Appropriate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant) will be available and strategically placed in areas where they may be/are frequently used.
  • Schools will build routines of hand hygiene into the daily school schedule for all students and staff, including handwashing and sanitation breaks during or between classroom activities.
  • HEPA filters will remain in all instructional spaces and buildings.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of our learning spaces and vehicles will continue. 
Community Level Tool

The COVID-19 Community Levels is a tool developed by the CDC to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 based on the COVID-19 Community Level in your area.

2. Food and Nutrition Services

The District 196 Food and Nutrition Services Department will follow practices consistent with MDH, MDE and CDC health and safety guidelines when serving students in our schools. 

Mealtime health and safety measures that are implemented at every school include scannable meal IDs, which replaced the keypad system, and regular cleaning and disinfecting between meal times. Other measures at schools may include keeping classes together when possible at meal times, providing additional space in between chairs where possible and HEPA filters in cafeterias.

3. Transportation

Windows and roof hatches may be opened to the extent weather permits to increase airflow and circulation. Buses will be cleaned at least once a day focusing on frequently touched surfaces in the vehicle.

4. Technology and Internet Access 

In the event of school closure or student absences due to COVID-19, technology will allow learning to continue. Every student K-12+ has access to a district-owned iPad. The district will assist families who need access to the internet. Technical support is provided for students and families. Zoom, Schoology and Seesaw are the tools used to connect students and teachers.

Hot spots are available for students who do not have reliable access to the internet. Contact your school directly to submit a request for a free hotspot. 

5. Athletics, Activities, Enrichment and Community Facility Use 

Out-of-School-Time Classes and Activities

Engaging, enriching and inspiring opportunities for students during non-school hours is an important component of a well-rounded education. Therefore:

  • Band and instrumental music programming is safer when conducted outdoors. 

  • When inside, provide as much space as possible between participants. 

  • Personal protective equipment, including instrument bell covers, HEPA filters in instructional space, and sanitizers and cleaning products, will be available.

Athletics and Activities

Students are able to participate in athletics and activities according to guidelines set forth by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) and the district. Refer to the MSHSL website for their current COVID-19 guidance.

Facility Use

District facilities are available for community use according to guidelines set forth by the CDC and the district.

6. Mental Health and Wellness 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress, fear and anxiety for many people. As we transition into a more typical school year, we still acknowledge there may be families who still need resources to support mental health and wellness. Staff is in place at schools to assist with the various needs of students, including school counselors, psychologists, social workers and nurses.

Use the district’s Virtual Calming Room for mindfulness opportunities. Your school staff is available to guide you to additional available resources, both within the district and within the community.

Mental Health Resources

More Information

If you have questions about anything in this 2022-23 COVID-19 Operational Plan for Students, Families & Guests, contact the district’s COVID-19 Team at covid19@district196.org.