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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.

See related frequently asked questions. (See the PDF version of the safety guide.)

1. Arriving and leaving school

  • Staff will help students in and out of the building to ensure social distancing is being maintained.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at all entrances and exits.
  • Floor stickers will show students how to maintain social distancing 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

  • Buses will only be filled to half (50%) with only two or three students sitting in a row.
  • Seats will be marked to show students where they can sit which will maximize the distance between students.
  • Seats will be filled starting at the back of the bus; siblings will sit together. 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 apart.

4. Classrooms

  • For hybrid learning, classrooms will have half the number of students in order to maintain social distancing.
  • 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 distancing.

7. Restrooms

  • 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. In single-use restroom, signs will be posted to remind students that only one person should use the restroom at any one time.
  • High-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day. All bathrooms will be fully disinfected at the end of the school day.

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 under 25 students.
  • Students will go outdoors for recess while maintaining social distancing as they exit and enter the building. Staff will remind students to stay 6 feet apart during recess and to wear a face covering.
  • 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. The number of students picking up lunch will be limited to ensure social distancing is followed.
  • For students in Distance Learning, meal boxes will be available for pick up at locations away from other students in the building.
  • 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 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 will two hours before school starts and will stay on for two hours after school is closed.
  • As weather permits, the circulation of outdoor air will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors.

12. Isolating individuals who are ill

  • A dedicated space near the nurse's office will be set aside for any student who s to show symptoms of COVID-19. This isolation room will be clearly marked and air flow from this room to other rooms will be protected.
  • 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.

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. 

Protection from COVID-19: Stop the spread of germs 

Families have an important role in helping their child and others around them stay safe as we continue to live with COVID-19. Please show your child how to follow the safety tips below.

  • Wash your hands often

  • Wear a face cover 

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Keep 6 feet of space between you and others