Families and students can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by:
Find a Vaccine Location
Vaccines now approved for 5-11 year old children
Following an extensive clinical trial and final recommendations from CDC for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year-olds, Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota will begin vaccination children this week. To aid families, the state has launched a new webpage (mn.gov/vaxforkids) to help parents and guardians find 5-11 year-old children a vaccine and answer questions they may have about the vaccine.
Before you go, make sure the vaccine location provides the Pfizer vaccine to 5-11-year-olds. Not all Pfizer vaccine providers will have the vials specifically packaged for 5-11 year old doses in their supply.
For anyone age 5 and older, the Minnesota Department of Health offers a Vaccine Connector tool to help families find vaccination locations and make an appointment. You can access the Vaccine Connector online.
COVID-19 Testing Resources
Rapid Tests Now Available at Community Test Sites
To provide Minnesota families even more access to free, quick testing resources, Governor Walz has expanded rapid COVID-19 testing opportunities across the state. These sites will allow Minnesotans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to take an antigen test and receive results in 1-3 hours. Please share with your families the COVID-19 community rapid testing sites that would be most convenient to access. Rapid COVID-19 testing are now available in:
- Brooklyn Park
- Saint Paul
Testing Information and Locations are available from the State of Minnesota's Find Testing Locations page.
About Testing for COVID-19: A Positive is a Positive
There are two types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests: molecular and antigen.
A positive COVID-19 test (molecular or antigen test) means the person who took the test has COVID-19 and can spread it to others. If you get a positive test result, you should stay home and away from others. This advice does not change if you get a second test that is negative.
Your close contacts will also be asked to stay home and away from others (quarantine). This advice does not change if they get tested and the result is negative.
It generally is not recommended that people get tested again after getting a positive result. However, those who work in health care and long-term care may need to retest to confirm a negative result.
School-Based COVID-19 Mitigation Matrix
Note: the matrix below was added August 26, 2021
IF CASES OCCUR IN SCHOOL:
Forest Lake Area Schools will use the following School Level Indicators Matrix to determine whether face coverings will be added to the mitigation strategies implemented in schools and buildings for students who are not eligible to get vaccinated (Grades PreK-6).
EXTENSION OF MASK REQUIREMENT BEYOND 10 DAYS
If a school requires masks as part of the matrix guidelines above, masks will be required beyond the 10 day minimum for as long as the rate of students with COVID-like illness remains above 5%. Decisions will be made on a weekly basis based on percentages of COVID-like illness during the week. The school prinicipal will communicate with families each week to let them know whether the mask requirement is extended, or if the school will return to operating with masks strongly recommended.
Please note: Students who have a confirmed negative test result for COVID-19 are no longer counted as a student with COVID-like illness. Please let your school health office know when you receive test results.
POTENTIAL FOR SCHOOL CLOSURE:
In the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases exceeding 5% of students in a school or classroom where there is evidence of independent cases resulting in person-to-person spread, a short-term school or classroom closure may be made in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health.
2021-2022 Plan for Safe Learning
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), masks are strongly recommended for students and staff while indoors.
In accordance with federal policy, all passengers and drivers must wear masks while using any mode of public transportations, including school buses.
Physical distancing & use of cohorts
Wherever possible, furniture will be arranged to provide a recommended three feet of distance between students and students will be encouraged to maintain 3 feet of distancing whenever possible in the classroom and other areas of the building.
Elementary students will generally remain with their own classroom group, however when it is necessary for academic purposes, elementary students will mix with students from other classrooms (for instance, targeted reading, 6th grade music, etc.).
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
To reduce the spread of germs, students will be encouraged to wash hands frequently throughout the day. Students and staff should follow typical guidance to cover coughs and sneezes and help prevent the spread of germs in the air.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including ventilation
Ventilation systems in all of Forest Lake Area Schools have recently been upgraded and provide excellent exchange and filtering of the air within our school buildings. Custodians will continue cleaning and sanitizing frequently to limit the spread of germs.
Remaining at home when ill
Students and staff who have symptoms of illness should remain home until at least 24 hours after their symptoms resolve. A person who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home for 10 days, in accordance with MDH guidelines. Students with COVID-19 related symptoms are encouraged to be tested for COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health defines the following COVID-19 symptoms:
More Common Symptoms
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- New cough or cough that gets worse
- Difficulty/hard time breathing
- A new loss of taste or smell
Less Common Symptoms
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Pain
- Extreme fatigue/feeling very tired
- New severe/very bad headache
- New nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose
If you live with a person who tested positive for COVID-19
Students who are not vaccinated and who live with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 must remain at home and quarantine for 14 days following guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC.
Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine
Students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 should remain at home and follow the quarantine and exclusion guidelines established by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), (the current recommendation is isolating for a period of 10 days).
If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported within an elementary classroom, parents of the students in that classroom will be notified of the case at the end of the day. Students in that classroom will be required to wear a mask for a minimum of 10 days following the close contact (see Matrix above). Parents may also keep their student home in quarantine if they choose to do so.
If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported in one of our secondary schools (grades 7-12), parents of the students in each impacted classroom will be notified of the case at the end of the day. Vaccinated students in that classroom may continue to attend as usual, unless they are showing COVID symptoms. Unvaccinated students in the impacted classroom should wear a mask at school for a minimum of 10 days, or they may choose to remain home in quarantine according to guidance from MDH. Staff will not ask students about their vaccination status.
The district will provide a web-based dashboard listing the number of current cases district-wide. Each school will provide weekly notifications to their families with the number of students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 and were present in a school building while contagious.
Diagnostic and screening testing
Testing is free and families are encouraged to contact their health care provider or public health resources to be tested for COVID-19 any time they have been exposed to someone with the virus, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or simply wish to screen for asymptomatic cases.
Vaccinations are free and readily available in our community. Families are encouraged to contact their health care provider or public health resources for vaccine opportunities.
Accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety protocols
Our district’s nursing and special education departments will address accommodations or procedures specific to the needs of students with disabilities or unique health concerns. Families with concerns should reach out to their school principal or health office.
Homebound instruction will not be provided in the home, it must be provided in a space that meets CDC guidance.
Continuity of services
The staff and administration of Forest Lake Area Schools believes that most students learn best in-person at school. The district will prioritize in-person learning wherever possible to ensure that academic, social, emotional and mental health needs are met. Other student services such as on-site mental health services and school meals are also best provided in-person at school. In rare cases where it becomes unsafe or ill-advised to have students learning in-person at school, the district will address the above needs on a remote basis.
Coordination with State and local health officials
The district will report all school-based cases of COVID-19 as required by the Minnesota Department of Health. The District will follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health in situations where additional mitigation may be necessary (for instance, if there is an outbreak of flu-like illness within a classroom, grade level or school). Forest Lake Area Schools reserves the right to change elements of the above listed plan if new circumstances arise.
Additional Details for All Schools
Drinking fountains and bottle-fill stations will be available.
Parent Conferences will be available in person and/or virtual.
After-School/Evening Events can proceed as usual, with potential restrictions in response to new data as the year moves forward.
High School athletics and activities will take place following current MDH, CDC and MSHSL guidance for players, coaches and spectators.
Community Education classes and activities, and after-hours use of school buildings will be allowed with adherence to all current MDH and CDC guidance.
Field trips that are part of the coursework and cannot be duplicated within the school building will be allowed. Students and staff will follow the COVID-19 mitigation guidance of the location they are traveling to. Masks may be required by the facilities being visited.
Additional Details for Elementary Schools
Students who are quarantining at home will be provided school work to be completed at home with the family. This work could be provided in paper format or via digital platforms depending on the grade-level, teacher and student access to technology.
Recess will proceed as usual without COVID-related restrictions
Lunchroom will use three feet of spacing between students whenever possible and students will be seated by homeroom.
Visitors and volunteers will not be allowed during the school day at this time. This policy may be re-evaluated as data changes throughout the year.
School Age Care will operate as usual through Community Education
Preschool students will follow the Early Childhood Distance Learning Plan in response to any COVID-19 cases within their classes.
Elementary music will maintain three feet of distance between students wherever possible. Instrument coverings for band classes may be used where available.
Additional Details for Secondary Schools (7-12 grade)
Academic expectations for students who are quarantined.
- Students who are quarantined are considered ill and should do their best to keep up on learning through Canvas.
- If students are unable to complete work at home due to illness, parent(s)/guardian(s) will communicate with teachers.
- Teachers should communicate expectations to students if virtual meetings are available.
- Students will be allowed extra time to complete assignments when quarantined or marked ill for any reason.
Building-wide assemblies and events will continue as they would in a typical year. This procedure is subject to change responding to data as the year moves forward.
Visitors and Volunteers are limited to those who visit the school for curricular purposes or student college and career planning purposes (college, military, and career speakers or recruiters).