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COVID-19 Mitigation Reminders

Dear Big Lake Schools Community,

As we return to school tomorrow, I hope that everyone had time to rest, recharge, and spend time with loved ones over winter break! If you recall, last year around this time we were in Distance Learning and just beginning to reopen our elementary buildings to students. Throughout the first part of this current school year; I saw our families, staff, and students rise to the challenge of mitigating COVID-19. I am confident we can continue to mitigate COVID-19 through the remainder of the school year. 

Today, I want to provide a reminder on the importance of following the safety protocols we have established to help minimize risks for our students, staff, and families. I recognize that these protocols may be challenging to follow, but working together we can support one another and our school community. Below are answers to frequently asked questions and mitigation strategies that we have implemented in our schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent exposure. 

Should I still conduct a daily symptom check of my student? 

Yes! To help curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school community healthy, we ask that all staff, students, and families complete a daily symptom check before coming to school.

Does your student have one or more of these symptoms? 

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting

If the answer is "yes" to at least one of the above symptoms, keep your student home when sick; do not send them to school. Students may return to school when: 

  • 24 hours fever free without use of fever reducing medication
  • Your student has no symptoms related to COVID-19
  • Your student received a negative COVID-19 test (testing is not required)
  • Your student receives an alternate diagnosis from their health care provider


When does the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend testing for COVID-19?

MDH recommends testing 3-5 days after exposure to a positive case, or immediately after symptoms appear. 


My student has a pending COVID-19 test, can they return to school while we wait for a test result?

No, students that have a pending COVID-19 test should remain home until they receive their test results and are symptom free. 


My student tested positive, when can they return to school? 

Over winter break, the CDC issued new quarantine guidance for positive COVID-19 cases. At this time, we are awaiting further clarification from MDH on implementation of the new quarantine guidelines and will continue to follow our current practice. Any changes will be communicated with our school community. 

Currently, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 may return to school when it has been 10 days since symptoms first began or when they tested positive; symptoms have improved; and they have had no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. Contact your building's Health Office for any questions or clarification on return to school dates. 


Is quarantine required if my student is considered a close contact? 

Quarantine is not required, but is highly recommended by Big Lake Schools and MDH. If you choose to have your student quarantine, please contact their school to inform them of this decision. Absences related to COVID-19 and quarantine are excused. 


What if the close contact lives in our household? 

Yes, students and staff need to stay home if there is a positive case in your household. Please contact your building’s Health Office for a return date to school. 


Does my student still need to wear a face covering on the school bus? 

Per federal requirements, anyone riding a school bus or public transportation will need to wear a face covering at all times. Students should put on their face covering before boarding. 


Are face coverings required or recommended while inside school buildings? 

It is recommended that staff, students, and visitors wear a face covering while attending school or participating in activities. Should a change need to be made, we will communicate accordingly.


As a community, now is the time to support our students. Please follow these MDH guidelines to help keep our school community healthy and minimize disruption to classroom learning: 

  • If you are sick, stay home
  • Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces (i.e. telephones, doorknobs, countertops, etc.)
  • Ensure that you have plenty of food, medication and other necessities at home in the event you need to stay home
  • Consider bi-weekly saliva testing for COVID-19
  • Follow all guidance, including quarantine guidelines from MDH

More information on our health and safety protocols may be found here. We ask that all students, staff, and community members carefully follow these procedures. 

As always, thank you for your continued support of Big Lake Schools!



Tim Truebenbach