Health and Safety for In-person Learning
MPS health and safety protocols are guided by the State of Minnesota's State of Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21. The decision to provide full- or part-time in-person learning will be based on several factors: COVID-19 infection rates, staff capacity, building readiness, the availability of personal protective equipment, and families’ preference. As these factors change, so will the decision on what type of in-person learning should continue or if we should return to distance learning full time.
In full in-person learning, social distancing does not need to be followed as COVID-19 infection rates would be low; however, other safety measures are still taken such as wearing face coverings and disinfecting surfaces and spaces. Please note that if full in-person learning is provided, many of the social distancing practices outlined in this guide may not necessarily be implemented.
*Face coverings: If
your student cannot wear a face covering due to a developmental, medical or
behavioral health condition; contact your school's health office for
guidance-students will need a doctor's note to be excluded from wearing a face
covering. All students, staff and other people present in school buildings, and
district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles are required to
wear a face covering.
1. Arriving and leaving school
- Staff will help students in and out of the building and work to maintain social distancing outside of the classroom.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at all entrances and exits.
- Floor stickers will show students how to maintain social distancing while standing in lines, restrooms, offices and other spaces.
- Families and caregivers who drop off and pick up their children will need to do so at specific entrances. Staff will then escort students to and from their classrooms.
- Students who arrive by a school bus will enter a separate entrance from the family drop off/pick up points.
2. Bus loading and unloading
will be arranged to allow as much space as possible between riders.
- All riders will be required to wear a face covering while on the bus.
- Students will unload from the bus one at a time from front to back. When returning home, students will unload one at a time at each stop.
- For contact tracing, daily attendance will be taken by the bus driver as each student enters the bus. A seating chart will be used to track where students sit so that if a student later becomes ill with COVID-19, it will help to identify who they may have come into contact with.
3. Main offices
- Plexiglass dividers will be placed in high-traffic areas such as the main office.
- In the main office waiting area, chairs will be spaced 6 feet
- Classrooms will be set to maintain as much social distancing as possible with a goal to maintain 3 feet for children. Six feet of social distancing will be maintained between staff and students with plastic desk top barriers provided should one on one or small group instruction need to take place where 6 feet cannot be maintained
- Classrooms will have hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Sanitizers will be stored away and out of sight of children under six years of age.
- Shared learning supplies and materials will be disinfected by staff between uses.
- Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized will be removed by staff. Examples include cloth books, paper books, games, art supplies and other learning aids.
- High touch areas such as chairs, desks and doors will be sanitized throughout the day by classroom staff and each night by custodians.
- All classrooms will be fully disinfected by custodial staff at the end of the school day when rooms are empty.
5. Multi-purpose/media centers
- Shared learning tools and materials should be limited.
- High touch area will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day by staff.
- To limit student movement from room to room, instruction for specialists/electives should take place inside the classrooms when possible.
- All common areas, multipurpose rooms and media centers will be fully disinfected by custodial staff at the end of the school day when rooms are empty.
6. Hallways and stairwells
- Signs will be posted on walls and floor to help control traffic flow in halls and stairwells.
Floor stickers will mark spots for social
- High-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day. All bathrooms will be fully disinfected at the end of the school day.
- In single-use restroom, signs will be posted to remind students that only one person should use the restroom at any one time.
- Only half the number of students will be allowed into a multi-stall restroom at any one time. Staff will monitor the number of students that use the restroom.
8. Recess and Playgrounds
- Playgrounds and activity fields will be open.
- The number of students on a playground at any one time will be limited to help maintain same groups staying together throughout the day.
- Students will go outdoors for recess while maintaining social distancing as they exit and enter the building. Staff will remind students to wear a face covering during recess.
- Doorways will have hand sanitizer available to students and staff to use when they reenter the building.
- Playground equipment will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
- Playgrounds equipment will be closed when outdoor temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit as disinfectants are not effective below freezing.
9. Meals and snacks
- Meals will be pre-packaged for individual use.
- Breakfast will be grab-and-go and eaten in the classroom.
- Lunch will be picked up by students in the cafeteria and either eaten in the cafeteria or classroom.
- Meal times will be set up to reduce the number of classrooms in the cafeteria at any one time.
- For students in Distance Learning, meal boxes will be available from sites not used for in-person elementary learning. Snacks for after school programs will be eaten in the classroom.
- Vending machines will be turned off.
10. Water fountains
- Water fountains will be wrapped and unavailable for use.
- A water bottle filler or bottled water will be available in all schools. Students should be encouraged to bring their own water bottle from home and labeled with their name.
11. Ventilation and air flow
- Where possible, air filters are being upgraded to the highest level possible (MERV 11 - 14 filters). HEPA filtration units will be placed in classrooms where the ventilation systems cannot support MERV filters.
- To bring in fresh, outside air ventilation systems start two hours before school starts and stay on for two hours after school is closed. .
12. Isolating individuals who are ill
- A dedicated space near the nurse’s office will be set aside for any student who starts to show symptoms of COVID-19. This illness room will be clearly marked and air flow from this room to other rooms will be protected with additional HEPA filters.
- The student will be separated from others until they can be picked up by a parent or guardian. Transportation will be provided to any student whose parent/guardian cannot pick them up in a reasonable time.
- If your student must stay home due to having COVID-19 or being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, your student will need to stay home for 14 days to quarantine. If your student is well, but needs to quarantine, they can keep up with their coursework through distance learning. Follow these quarantine tips from the Minnesota Department of Health.
A child must not go to school, child care, or youth programs if ANY of these are true about the child:
- Tests positive for COVID-19.
- Shows symptoms of COVID-19.
- May have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Is waiting to get tested, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, or lives with anyone who has symptoms and is getting tested for COVID-19.
Before students come to school each day, families should check if their student is not feeling well. If your student is experiencing any of the symptoms, please keep them at home and remember to call your school to report your student’s absence.
COVID-19 testing resources
Families who need to get tested for COVID-19 can visit the Minnesota Department of Health website to find a location for free COVID-19 testing. It's important to check with your insurance provider before making an appointment to make sure the office visit fee will be covered. The website offers other resources for uninsured Minnesotans along with low-cost healthcare options. If you need help, contact your school nurse or social worker.