Latest COVID updates 10/16/20
Dear Families, Staff, Stakeholders:
I am sending this letter in an effort to continue communication, help clear up some misunderstandings, and make everyone aware of the current state of our school and county as it relates to COVID-19.
The current numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in our county continues to rise at a concerning rate. The current unofficial 14-day active case rate per 10,000 people in our county is over 50. In our buildings, we have had 3 total positive cases since opening on September 8th.
If you recall, the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education came out with a formula for schools to determine the selection of the safe learning model for schools to start the school year based upon current active case rates. It was determined based upon those numbers along with consultation with local public health, and the school’s COVID-19 Task Force that Fulda’s safe learning plan would be to start both schools in the “hybrid” model. Once schools opened, the process of determining moving from one learning model to another depends on many factors specific to each school building and not solely on the 14-day active county rates. Some of these factors include: active cases in the schools, timing of cases in the schools, traceability to the school community, where the cases are occurring, the number of close contacts that each case has, and the number of available staff members that are able to teach. Again, whether schools go to distance learning is not solely based on the 14-day active county case rates per 10,000 people. This has been misunderstood not only here, but across the state as well.
We are in constant communication with local public health, the regional COVID-19 support team, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Our goals are:
∙ Prevent cases from entering the school by having families screen for symptoms before entering the building and NOT going to school or work if you aren’t feeling well.
∙ Prevent cases from spreading by following all the guidelines for distancing, masking, testing, and hygiene while in school and at school events.
∙ Prevent community spread by following isolation/quarantine guidelines.
This week (10/12) we had a positive case within the school that saw our largest number of individuals considered as close contacts and needing to quarantine at home. These quarantined individuals are well but need to stay home from school and activities for 14 days because they may develop COVID-19 during this time frame because they were in direct contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Our school nurse has worked closely with local public health and the Minnesota Department of health schools team and sports team to help identify close contacts for this situation. Best case scenario would be that while these students are out in quarantine, none of them develop symptoms and in 2 weeks they can all return to school.
Fulda’s ability to maintain its goal to remain open is not just the function of the school buildings and employees itself, it is also HIGHLY dependent on our families and communities to do their part as well. We, as a community, have the power to slow the spread and keep schools open. Keeping schools open allows parents to stay at work, school sports and activities to continue, and help keep kids safe. Please help do your part to keep our schools open for our kids!
At this time, we are not looking at changing our learning model but this could change based upon the factors listed above at any time. If a change would need to be made, our goal is to communicate this to parents as quickly as possible and provide as much time as we can for parents to prepare for this change.
Loy Woelber - Superintendent