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COVID-19 Parent Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

This morning, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provided new recommendations to school districts regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), and this afternoon the Governor reiterated the same message. At this time, MDH is advising schools to remain open; however, is encouraging districts to put into place “social distancing” measures.

 

At Big Lake Schools, these measures include:

  • Canceling all gatherings/assemblies/events that are open to the public/families for the next two weeks. We will try our very best to record student events and share them on our Facebook page.
  • Not allowing facility rentals (except for activity practices) for the next two weeks.
  • Reducing the amount of time and the number of students gathered in one place at one time.
  • Reducing or eliminating interschool mixing or mixing between schools.
  • Limiting nonessential visitors/volunteers in the schools (lunch visits, classroom volunteers, etc.). We would consider essential visits to include pick ups/ drop offs.
  • Taking additional time and measures to clean and sanitize high contact surfaces including buses.

 

At this time, afterschool activities, Community Education classes, ECFE, preschool, etc. will continue to be held.

 

MDH continues to advise that proper hand washing and staying home when sick have the greatest impacts on slowing the transmission of the virus. The CDC is advising that anyone feeling sick, along with any household members, should remain home.

 

We understand that parents are wondering why school districts aren’t closing. According to MDH, the extended closure of school districts could have several unintended consequences such as access to nutrition, negative effect on the workforce due to the need for parents to stay home with their children, among others. Additionally, MDH has stated that global data is showing that early, short closures do not help. For information on what may constitute a school closure, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf .

 

With spring travel time approaching, we understand some families may already be traveling or plan on traveling in the near future. The CDC is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel. It is also recommending older adults or those who have chronic medical conditions to consider postponing any travel plans.

 

If you or a household member has recently traveled via air or have reason to believe you may have come into contact with a COVID-19 lab-confirmed person, AND are exhibiting the following symptoms, seek medical care and practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from other people and limit exposure time to less than 10 minutes). The CDC is recommending calling ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency room. All household members should remain home until the person exhibiting symptoms is tested and reports a negative result.

 

Common COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Trouble breathing

 

COVID-19 symptoms do not typically include a congested or runny nose, which are more commonly flu and cold symptoms.

 

As with snow days, a parent always has discretion on whether or not to send their child to school. If you choose to keep your child home, it will be counted as an excused absence, and you should work directly with your student’s teachers on a plan to make up missed learning. Please make sure to call your child’s school office and report any absence as usual.

 

While this information, and much of the information reported by the media, may sound alarming and scary, the CDC is reporting that for the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States, including Minnesota.

 

Additionally, the virus seems to cause mild symptoms in the majority of cases. Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions are most at-risk. If you have a student with an underlying medical condition, we encourage you to contact your medical provider for guidance, and contact your school principal so that we can work with you on a plan.

 

We are committed to communicating with families regarding this rapidly changing situation. If the district receives any further guidance or important information from the CDC, MDH or any other agency, we will update families accordingly. Please be advised that early dismissals, late starts or closures could come at any time and will be communicated via email, text message, Facebook and major media outlets. Please see below for a list of resources.

 

Sincerely,

 

Steve Westerberg

Superintendent

 

Resource Links:

 

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

MDH: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

CDC Travel: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

MDH Hotline: 651-201-5414

Tips for Talking with Children on COVID-19: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource