Dear St. Joseph School Families,
In alignment with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), St. Joseph School (grades preschool-8) will adopt the shortened CDC 5 day quarantine guidance effective Friday, January 14th. In summary, the shortened 5 day quarantine applies to individuals who feel significantly better, are symptom free, and can actively participate in the school day. If individuals continue to have symptoms post 5 days, we ask that he/she stays home.
Please see our infographic flowcharts with detailed information on what to do when:
- your child tests positive for COVID-19
- a household member tests positive, and student vaccines are up to date
- a household member tests positive, and student vaccines are NOT up to date
Our main mitigation strategies to to keep students, staff, and families safe AND keep our school open for full-time, in-person are:
- Requiring that all students, staff, and visitors to the building wear appropriate face coverings (MDH, APA, CDC)
- Requiring students and staff to stay home when sick
- Reinforcing good handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and sanitizing
St. Joseph School will update, change, or modify our mitigation strategies based on positivity rates within the school community or as recommended or required by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, as well as federal or state agencies.
Please see the drop down items below for further details on our Safe Return to Learning Plan for the 2021-2022 school year.
1/17 to 1/21
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9.19.2021 PPRP Update to School Families
Students and staff will attend weekly school Mass on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and sit with their grade level class only. School masses and liturgical services will follow the Archdiocesan Protocols published by the Office of Worship. We hope to reinstate our older/younger grade buddy program later this school year. Parents are welcome to join us at our school Mass.
Families are asked to monitor their children’s health on a daily basis utilizing our St. Joseph School daily health screening checklist. If a student is not feeling well, families are asked to complete the health screening checklist and report the absence by submitting via google form.
All students, staff, and visitors are required to conduct a daily health screening before coming to school or work. Students and staff are required to stay home if they are ill, and leave school or work if they become sick during the day. All families are required to report if a child is ill and/or tests positive for a communicable disease (COVID-19, Influenza, etc.) to email@example.com or via the daily health screening checklist. Staff will report illness to their supervisor.
Students will be asked to use hand sanitizer and/or wash their hands upon arrival at school each day. Proper handwashing techniques will be taught and practiced at all grade levels. Families are asked to reinforce proper handwashing techniques at home. Students should bring a refillable water bottle to school each day to fill at the water bottle filling stations. Teachers will teach and reinforce proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
- For fever of 100.4°F or more, wait for 24 hours AFTER temperature has returned to normal WITHOUT fever‐reducing medicine before sending your child back to school.
- For diarrhea or vomiting, wait for 24 hours AFTER THE LAST EPISODE before sending your child back to school
- Your child should not be having excessive secretions, continual coughing, or be excessively tired. If your child has these symptoms, please continue to keep them home until symptoms have resolved.
- If a child becomes ill during the school day, the child will be observed and evaluated by the school nurse. An ill child will be required to wear a mask while they wait to be picked up.
Students or staff who test positive for a communicable disease will be required to stay home until the person has no fever for at least 24 hours without medication, minimal to no coughing, no excessive secretions, is eating/drinking and well-rested. If antibiotics are prescribed, students or staff should be on medications for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to school. If additional positive cases are confirmed in the household, please call the school nurse for guidance. Return dates will depend on the type of communicable disease.
St. Joseph School families and staff will be notified via email of a positive case of communicable disease in their child’s classroom. Students and staff in close contact with a positive case may be required to quarantine. We recommend that families monitor their children for signs and symptoms after an exposure to a positive case. If your child develops any signs or symptoms, please keep the child home and notify the school nurse.
St. Joseph School will not promote attendance policy incentives that may cause a student to come to school when ill, such as the “Perfect Attendance” award for the 2021-2022 school year.
St. Joseph School, as required by Minnesota Rule 4605.7070 , will report cases of communicable diseases (COVID-19, Influenza, etc.) to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) following procedures provided by MDH.
St. Joseph School works in partnership with two school counselors that are on-site two days per week: Mr. Mike Weir (David Hoy & Associates) and Mrs. Anna Gryska (Phoenix School Counseling). Also, several SJS staff members attended a Peace of Mind Social/Emotional Health training in August. As a school community, we will emphasize the critical importance of mental health and well being among our students and staff. Social emotional learning (SEL) activities will be integrated into all students’ daily classroom experiences.
All students, staff, and visitors to St. Joseph School are required to wear a face covering. This requirement is based on the CDC transmission level data levels. Face coverings will be required while transmission levels are in the high and substantial levels, and will be recommended when transmission levels are moderate or low.
Student mask breaks happen throughout the day, including during outdoor classes, recess, physical education class, lunch, and snack time.
Minnesota Department of Health strongly recommends face coverings for all people regardless of vaccination status.
All volunteers will be asked to complete a daily health screening checklist as part of the sign in process and wear a mask while in the school building during school hours. This will help limit exposure.
In the event of an increase of positive COVID-19 cases in our school community, St. Joseph School may require students and staff to wear face coverings at some points throughout the school year (such as after holidays, breaks, or travel). Also, St. Joseph School will follow all state, federal, or Archdiocesan mandates.
Per federal mandate, face coverings are required on school buses at this time by all people regardless of vaccination status.
Effective 10/15/2021, student desks and tables will be forward facing, except in our preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Seating in the cafeteria during lunch will be assigned and students will be spaced out with 3 feet space between each student. Social distancing will be encouraged in the hallways.
A close contact is defined as being less than 6 feet from someone for 15 minutes or more throughout a 24-hour period.
Effective 1/14/2022, St. Joseph School will no longer notify students, staff, and families if they are considered a close contact with a positive case in our school community. General class notifications will also no longer be sent to families. Instead, families can check the COVID dashboard on our school website, which will be updated daily with positive case numbers.
Families should assume that students are exposed to COVID-19 at all times and watch diligently for symptoms by using our Daily Health Screening Checklist. Please use the Absence Reporting Form to report a student’s absence from school.
If 3+ positive, active COVID cases occur in a class over a 7-day period, St. Joseph School will consult with MDH to determine if the entire class needs to quarantine.
We recommend families monitor their children for signs and symptoms after an exposure to a positive case. If your child develops any signs or symptoms, please keep the child home and notify the school nurse.
Working in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, St. Joseph School will provide MDH relevant information when requested. Families are encouraged to reach out to people they determine to be close contacts when there is a positive case in the family.
Effective 1/14/2022, please see updated shortened quarantine guidance.
If there is a positive household case, unvaccinated members of the household are required to stay home from school and quarantine. Quarantine requirements will vary based on the positive test date of the household member(s), and/or if SJS siblings test positive during the quarantine time period.
- Data shows that 75% of household contacts become positive when there is a positive case in the household
- Positive cases within the household need to isolate for 5 days from symptom onset or positive test date with no symptoms. The infectious period is 10 days from onset of symptoms or positive test date. Positive person is also infectious 2 days before symptoms of positive test.
- Other household members (siblings) start their quarantine from the last day of exposure which is at the end of the positive household member’s 5 days.
- These household members need to stay home for at least 5 days from last exposure which allows enough time to develop symptoms if they become positive.
- An option for household member shortened quarantine, is to provide a negative COVID test 5-7 days after the household positive case isolation period has been completed.
- If a family member is vaccinated and has no symptoms, he or she does not need to quarantine. It is recommended that they test 3-5 days after initial exposure and wear a mask in and outside of school until they receive a negative test. This individual should test again at the end of the 10 day positive person’s isolation period.
Individuals with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19-students or staff members-are allowed to return to school when all of the following are true (MDH, 2021):
- They feel better. Their cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms have substantially improved;
- It has been at least 5 days since they first felt sick or tested positive;
- They have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- Once you are sick, you are infectious for 10 days from positive test or symptom onset and the 2 days before that. If you are fever and symptom free you can return to regular activities on the 11th day.
As stated previously in the spring, the distance learning option will not be offered for the 2021-2022 school year. If a child is ill or needs to stay home due to a household close contact exposure, teachers will provide a basic outline of assignments for the child within 2 school days. Communication will be sent via email to the child’s family and learning materials can be picked up in the school entrance. Some learning and assignments may need to be completed upon the child’s return to school when no longer ill or in quarantine. Distance learning will be provided if an entire class is in quarantine or if the entire school needs to shift to distance learning.
Each grade level class will eat lunch and go to recess with their classmates. Preschool and kindergarten students will eat in their homeroom classrooms. The lunchroom will be limited to two classes eating at the same time. Lunch will be served vs. self-served. The federal lunch program will again provide free lunch for all students for the 2021-2022 school year.
Students will only participate in recess with their homeroom class.
Field trips may occur throughout the school year. Face coverings are required on all public transportation, including school buses. Individual venues may have health guidelines in place that are more restrictive than the current state requirements.
Extra curricular activities, such as athletics and our hand chime choir will occur this school year. St. Joseph School may “pause” these activities at various times throughout the school year based on positivity rates in our community.
Volunteers with up-to-date E3 credentials will be welcome in the school building. All volunteers will be asked to complete the daily health screening checklist as part of the sign in process and wear a mask while in the school building during school hours. This will help limit exposure.
St. Joseph School will continue to monitor school and community data to keep families informed of health-related issues during the school year. Our school nurse will publish a weekly update in our school Green Wave newsletter with school and community information as it relates to communicable diseases. We will also continue to work with the Minnesota Department of Health and Dakota County Public Health. Beginning 1/14/2022, daily positive case numbers will be posted to the website COVID dashboard section.
Hard surfaces will be cleaned daily with soap and water as needed throughout the day in classrooms. Our custodial staff will continue to thoroughly clean our classrooms after each school day. Specialized cleaning will continue to occur for outbreaks of illnesses (COVID-19, Influenza, etc.). Effective 10/14/2021, custodial staff will do a deep clean of all learning spaces on Wednesday evenings with a sanitizing spray machine. We have installed two air purifiers in the building so far, and are in the process of researching the need for additional devices. We will maximize opportunities for outdoor learning in our Matthew 25 Garden, outdoor classroom, and beautiful SJS campus.
Public health officials recommend vaccinations for eligible individuals. COVID-19 vaccinations are not required in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. If you need assistance in finding or scheduling a vaccination appointment, please contact Dakota County Public Health or your primary care physician.
If you need assistance in finding or scheduling communicable disease testing, please contact Dakota County Public Health or your primary care physician. Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis will not test students for COVID-19 (or provide any other non-emergency health services to students) without written parental consent. St. Joseph School has a limited number of at-home tests that can be picked up in the main office. Test kits can't be sent home in student backpacks.
Kelly Roche, Principal
Randy Haney, Parish Director
Beth Reilly, School Nurse
Sheila Swift, Engagement Coordinator
Allie Pankratz, 3rd Grade Teacher
Sue Sirek, Middle School Teacher
Jess Dirksen, School Advisory Council Member
Joe McCullough, School Advisory Council Member
Neal Westphal, School Advisory Council Member
Aaron Pergolski, School Parent