A Message About Safely Keeping our Schools Open

A Message About Safely Keeping our Schools Open
Posted on 10/22/2020
Washington County is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases with the latest numbers from the state’s formula showing 32.65. The state’s recommendation for case rates between 30 and 50 includes hybrid learning for elementary (K-5) and distance learning for secondary (6-12). Even so, the number of positive cases in our schools and programs continue to be low.

In consultation with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) will remain in the hybrid learning model at this time.

Beyond the county COVID-19 infection rates, there are multiple factors reviewed to determine if a learning model should change, including:
  • Staff and student absence/illness rates including absences for COVID-like symptoms, COVID-related symptoms or quarantines, and all other absences.
  • Staffing availability and the ability to cover absences
  • Success in the current learning model
  • Finding solutions to planning challenges before shifting to another learning model.
Because of successful contact tracing, those who had contact with an infected individual at school are quickly identified and quarantined if necessary. Since the beginning of the school year (and as of Monday, Oct. 19) SoWashCo has had 21 staff members and 40 students who have contracted COVID-19. There has not been an outbreak in a school and nearly all cases are the result of community spread.

So far, our school communities have been doing an outstanding job wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and sanitizing surfaces. Staff, students and families play an important role in helping our schools stay open as long and as safely as possible. With cases increasing around us, it is important to closely follow health and safety protocols.
  • Stay home when you are sick (even if you don’t think it’s COVID-19)
    • Please note that any sick student who is sent to school, or is determined to be sick during the school day, will immediately be sent home. We cannot risk the health of other students and adults at school, even if the illness may not appear to be COVID-19 related.
    • Review the chart from MDH that helps determine what happens when a student is sick at school.
  • Wear your mask when in public and in school (mouth and nose must be covered)
  • Social distance from those you do not live with (maintain at least six-feet of space, especially out in the community)
  • Wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly and often
  • Sanitize surfaces and shared items before and after you use them
SoWashCo will continue to review the latest data and will consult with MDE and MDH before making any adjustments to the current learning model. For more information about each learning model, visit sowashco.org/fall2020.