2020-12-18 Noticias de ISLA y ISLA PTO

December 20, 2020

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Letter from the Director

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘it will be happier.’” Alfred Lord Tennyson


RE: New Safe Learning Plan

Queridas familias, 

I know that I am not alone in celebrating the close of 2020---a year fraught primarily with the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic, but also with strife and discord of  various descriptions stretching from coast to coast, and the widening of the gulf of civilized discourse around the globe.   However, throughout this year the ISLA community has been a rock for many of us to hang onto in the middle of the storm.  Without the ISLA families and students, faculty and staff, it is hard to fathom how we would have managed. It is clear that our IB World School Community has “walked the walk” this year, and has remembered the part of the IB mission that makes us unique--that we “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” It is precisely that which brings me hope today and going forward into 2021.  

Safe Learning Plan

On Wednesday, December 18th, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a plan for all Minnesota elementary students to return to school, placing the priority and emphasis on young learners. Guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) further advises additional safety procedures and a phased-in approach where students gradually return to the buildings. The MDE has recommended these changes due to the evolving nature of what the Minnesota Department of Health knows about this virus, as they learn that children are less susceptible to spreading the disease as previously thought, and less likely to develop complications at the primary level. 

The ISLA School Board will meet on Monday, December 21st, during which we will  consider the implementation of a new ISLA Safe Learning Plan

  1. Tuesday, January 19: ISLA students in grades K-2 will return for full-day in-person learning, five days a week;
  2. Monday, February 1st:   ISLA students in  grades 3-5 will join for full-day in-person learning, five days a week; and
  3. Monday, February 15th: ISLA students in grade 6 will join for full day in-person learning, five days a week.   
  4. All families will have the option to continue with distance learning if they so choose; likewise, if a family wishes to change their original election of distance learning they can do so now. Once we start this next cycle, changes from distance learning to in person learning can be made in conjunction with the start/end of our Units of Inquiry (approximately every six weeks).
  5.  All ISLA families: please fill out this short form to (choose/not choose) the distance learning option. Distance Learning Choice 12/18/2020

The deadline to complete this form is Tuesday, December 29th, but a response is appreciated asap. 

New Safety Precautions 

We will continue the safety precautions which we began in the fall, with the following additional required safety precautions and strategies that school districts must adhere to per MDE guidance in order to return to in-person learning:

  • Implement a rolling start process for students to be brought back to the building. 
  • Kick off a full COVID-19 testing program every other week for all school staff (testing will be optional), beginning on approximately January 10th. The State of Minnesota will supply schools with the training and test kits they need to conduct testing every other week. 
  • Face masks and face shields must be worn together by school staff at all times.  (we have numerous masks and shields, and have ordered a new style of shield which has gotten very good reviews). 
  • When educators cannot be six feet from students (small group and individual instruction), when possible we will add a clear barrier between the adult and student.  We have ordered clear plexiglass coverings for every classroom that will be for the teacher’s desks, as well as another barrier for instruction.

QUARANTINE GUIDANCE for people who are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently updated their recommendations for quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19. These recommendations include certain situations where the quarantine period may be shortened. However, monitoring and surveillance still needs to occur for the entire 14 days following the exposure. The science behind how the virus works has not changed. The virus still has a 14 day incubation period, thus the requirement for continued monitoring during this time. The reason for the change to a shortened quarantine time in certain cases is to increase compliance and reduce the burden of quarantine for individuals and families. The safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. But, in certain situations, you may end your quarantine after 10 full days with continued monitoring, or after seven full days with a negative PCR COVID test result and continued monitoring.

ISLA will allow these shortened quarantine periods for staff and students, provided that certain guidelines are followed. In order to qualify for a shortened quarantine time the following things must be true:

  • No one in the household is positive for COVID-19
  • The exposure to COVID was a one-time exposure, and not a household member
  • You have NO symptoms (of any illness)
  • You have NOT tested positive for COVID-19
  • You make a commitment to continue to monitor for the entire 14 days following the exposure.
  • If you develop ANY symptoms within that 14 days, you need to stay home and separate yourself from others, and you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • You need to be vigilant about keeping your distance from others, continue to wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces you touch.
  • In addition, to qualify for a 7 day quarantine, you must get a PCR test for COVID-19 (not an antigen test) at least five full days after exposure to someone with COVID, and the test must be negative. You must provide documentation of these results before returning to ISLA.

If your student has been exposed to COVID-19 and you would like to be considered for a shortened quarantine time, you must submit a request through a Google form (see below). You must submit the proper documentation and hear back that it was approved before sending your student back to ISLA. Otherwise, they will follow the standard 14 day quarantine.

Shortened Quarantine Request Form

WE WANT YOUR INPUT!

Our next community PTO meeting will be Tuesday, January 26th at 6:30.  We’d love your input on possible topics.  Please click here to fill out this survey!

Give to the Max

The PTO would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who contributed during Give to the Max!  We raised an unprecedented amount of $25,665 and we obviously couldn’t do it without you!  ¡Muchas gracias!

Yearbook

Do you need to exchange last year’s yearbook?  Or are you regretting not purchasing one?

Contact Kris Bilardi at ktvedt@gmail.com for your replacement or to order one!

ISLA Board of Directors

 ISLA needs you! Looking for a way to help support the mission and oversight of our amazing school? We are looking for interested community members, teachers, and parents to fill upcoming vacancies on the ISLA Board of Directors for three-year terms, beginning July 1, 2021, as well as a community member to fill a one-year vacancy from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The Board is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the school, implementing policies and procedures, and long-term strategic and financial planning. No previous experience necessary, but we do have a specific need for expertise in finance, marketing and fundraising. Questions can be directed to Mary Jo De Villers, Election and Nominating Committee Chair, at mdevillers@isla.school. If you are interested in applying, please submit a Statement of Interest to the Election and Nominating Committee by February 19, 2021. Here is a link to the Statement of Interest: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bCSWpuanWuJblxC-JThgl-vXVKZE_at8/view?usp=sharing A sample ballot will be posted on the school's website in April 2021, and the election for office will occur in connection with the school’s annual meeting in May 2021.