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Updates on COVID-19, School Closures, and Staffing Shortages

Dear Big Lake Schools Community,

Lately, in the media headlines there have been stories about changing quarantine requirements, school closures and staffing shortages. I want to address how these issues directly affect Big Lake Schools and our community. 

Quarantine Requirements

As a district, we are going to do everything we can to keep our community safe, healthy, and in-school by relying on public health experts. We have heard of nearby districts experiencing staffing shortages and high COVID-19 positivity rates, forcing them into distance learning. To balance the health and safety of our school community, and maintain in-person learning we will temporarily be updating our quarantine requirements. 

  • Students 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. 
  • Students 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. 
  • Staff who test positive for COVID-19 will follow the most recent quarantine guidance issued by the Minnesota Department of Health.  Staff will be required to stay home for 5 days. If they have no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after 5 days, they may return to work. Staff who return to work will be required to wear a face covering for 5 additional days. 

This change in our guidance is based on forecasted COVID-19 metrics by public health officials. We intend to update our quarantine requirements again in early February. 

School Closures

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Minnesota weather turn from pleasant to bitter cold overnight. As a reminder, students need to be dressed appropriately for the weather! Please make sure that your student wears their hats, coats, gloves, boots, snow pants, etc. everyday. Students not only need to wear their winter gear at the bus stop, but elementary students also need to have it available for outdoor recess. 

In the event that we would need to close school due to weather, staffing shortages, or other emergency situations; students would engage in eLearning.  During eLearning teachers will post assignments within 90 minutes of the scheduled school day and will be available to students for most of the day with the exception of lunch and their professional learning community meetings. Teachers will communicate with students and post assignments on Seesaw or Otus along with expectations for the day. 

Official school closure notifications will come directly from our district communication channels (i.e. phone call, text message, email, website, news outlets, etc.). It is our deadline to alert parents by 5:30 a.m. for closings or delays. Our goal is to make a decision and relay the information much earlier than this; however, certain situations may delay the process. You can learn more about school closings here

Staffing Shortages

We are in dire need of additional staff to support our schools! We continue to seek qualified individuals who have a passion for working with children! If you or anyone you know is interested in working for Big Lake Schools, please apply for one of our open positions here

Thank you for your continued support of Big Lake Schools!

Sincerely,

Tim Truebenbach

Superintendent