Questions and Answers Regarding COVID-19

September 2, 2020

Tanya Nelson

Nurse

ISLA’s Covid FAQs

  • Please note, the information below is based on Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines as of August 12, 2020. Guidelines can and do change frequently and specific details of a concern/situation/positive result will be examined by MDH on a case by case basis as they arise.


  • **The term “close contact” is used several times in the answers below. Close contact is currently defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting from 48 hours before illness onset.


  • Remember that if you are asked to quarantine (or exclude), it is NOT a punishment or a failure. This is one of the measures we are taking to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Protecting ourselves and others is all about layering our efforts. Some of those layers of protection include: wearing a cloth face covering, maintaining 6 feet or more of social distance, responsibly self-monitoring for symptoms, quarantine/exclude if needed, washing hands frequently, cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently. Using all these layers together will give the best protection for ourselves and our community.



What if there is a child in the class who is Covid positive?  Does that pod quarantine?  Does the teacher?  Does the other pod s/he teaches?

  • The current Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines indicate that if a person tests positive for COVID-19, they would need to stay home at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and until they have no fever for at least 24 hours without medication as well as improvement of other symptoms. 
  • Anyone living with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact** with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days.
  • It’s possible that not everyone in the pod will need to quarantine/exclude, IF they are able to maintain social distance throughout the day. MDH will help do contact tracing for every person who tests positive for COVID-19 and determine who was a close contact and therefore who needs to quarantine/exclude.


What are the guidelines for unconfirmed cases while waiting for test results?

  • Refer to the guideline from MDH for more details: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/waiting.pdf
  • There are different instructions for those who have symptoms and for those who don’t have symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and away from others in your house. Avoid sharing household items. Wash your hands frequently. Start making a list of who you had close contact with, in the last 48 hours.
  • If you don’t have symptoms, stay home if you can. Wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet from other people if you need to leave home. Wash hands often.


If a child’s class has to quarantine, does the sibling also have to do so?

  • If you are asked to quarantine/exclude, it means that you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. If the siblings did not come into contact with that person, they do not need to exclude. If the child develops symptoms and is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, then the siblings and rest of the household would need to quarantine/exclude for 14 days.


What if someone in a student’s family is sick?

  • If the family member has symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, they should consult their medical provider about getting tested. For other diagnoses (strep throat, influenza A) or when a health care provider says symptoms are connected to a pre-existing condition, follow specific return guidance from the health care provider. The student would not need to quarantine/exclude unless the COVID test comes back positive for the family member.


What if someone in a teacher’s family is sick?

  • If the family member has symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, they should consult their medical provider about getting tested. For other diagnoses (strep throat, influenza A) or when a health care provider says symptoms are connected to a pre-existing condition, follow specific return guidance from the health care provider. The teacher would not need to quarantine/exclude unless the COVID test comes back positive for the family member.


What if someone in the class is sick?

  • If a student is sick, they will be evaluated in the isolation health room. If they have any symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, the student’s parents/guardians will be called to pick up the student ASAP. Parents will be asked to monitor symptoms at home and seek medical treatment or get testing, if symptoms indicate. We will be taking a much more conservative approach this school year. Because it will be impossible for school staff to know if a student has COVID-19 or not, we will be extra cautious in order to protect the rest of the students and staff. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. It would be helpful if parents could establish multiple contacts for their child(ren), that would be available for picking up students if needed.
  • If the student tests positive for COVID-19, we will work together with the MDH to determine next steps and figure out who was in close contact with that student. Families of those students who were in close contact, will be notified and asked to quarantine/exclude.
  • Any high-touch surfaces in the classroom would be cleaned after the sick student has left.


What if someone in the other pod is sick?  (Ex: I’m in Pod A, but someone in Pod B is sick but has been in my classroom with my teacher)

  • Again, any sick child will be sent home ASAP for parents to monitor symptoms.
  • Unless the person is determined to have COVID-19, the pod would not need to quarantine/exclude.
  • Any high-touch surfaces in the classroom would be cleaned after the sick student has left.


If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19, do they need to quarantine for 2-3 weeks?

  • The current Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines indicate that in this scenario the teacher would need to stay home at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and until they have no fever for at least 24 hours without medication as well as improvement of other symptoms. 


Do each of the students who have ridden with a bus driver who tested positive have to quarantine as a precaution?

  • If the students had close contact** with the driver, then MDH will work with the school to contact families, and the children will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.



What if a student’s family member tested positive, but not the student? Does the teacher have a paid quarantine? Do the students in the classroom quarantine? Does the nutrition staff quarantine because they were in contact with the student?

  • In this scenario, even if the student had a negative test, that student still had close contact** with a COVID positive person (the family member) and should be quarantining for 14 days.
  • The other classroom students, teacher and nutrition staff in this scenario did not have close contact with the COVID positive person, so they would not need to quarantine.   
  • Questions regarding compensation, sick time, etc. will be managed by the Human Relations Department and will be communicated to teachers and staff.


If that teacher has 5 classes, with 10 students in each class, do all 50 students need to quarantine for 14 days?

  • MDH would work with the school to determine if the students were considered high risk (had close contact). They would determine whether the recommendation was for students to quarantine and/or be tested, and the school would work with MDH to inform families.
  • Generally, if the students had close contact** with the teacher who was COVID positive, then yes, those students would likely have to quarantine for 14 days.

Would all 150 of those students need to get tested? Does everyone in each of those families need to get tested?

  • MDH would first determine if the students needed to be quarantined and then may recommend testing for those who had close contact** and who are showing symptoms. Families with a student who is quarantined may choose to test or not. If a student was told to quarantine and then began to show symptoms, MDH would likely recommend testing. It would still be up to the family to do so, and the cost would be paid for by the family.
  • As for families of the students in the above scenario, currently MDH guidelines would indicate they would not be recommended for testing, unless they had close contact** to a COVID positive case directly or are having COVID symptoms.

When does someone need to be tested? Who pays for the COVID-19 test?

  • MDH recommends that people who have symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested. Families may be encouraged by MDH to get testing if their student was in close contact with someone who tested positive, and their student is now showing symptoms. Testing has not been mandated to this point, and any costs for testing for students will be incurred by families. Most clinics and hospitals have the ability to collect samples for lab testing. MDH is also working with select communities to provide free on-site testing, see MDH website for current locations and dates.


Will the school provide testing?

  • At this time testing will not take place in the school, for a variety of reasons (staffing, supplies, etc). See MDH website for a live link to available testing locations.
  • The current Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines indicate that if a person tests positive for COVID-19, they would need to stay home at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and until they have no fever for at least 24 hours without medication as well as improvement of other symptoms. 
  • Anyone living with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact** with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days.

 

Will parents be notified of Covid cases?

 HIPAA guidelines prohibit school districts from identifying who the student/staff member is who has tested positive. If there is a case of COVID-19 identified, MDH will work with the school district to be as clear as possible about the risk level of those who have come into contact with the person who tested positive and what is recommended for next steps. We can assume that there will be COVID-19 cases within the ISLA community during this school year. If your child was a close contact of the person who tested positive, you will be notified.


Will there be any changes to drop-off/pick-up procedures to limit the number of people entering the school?

  • Parents and guardians should remain in their vehicle when dropping off or picking up students.
  • Visitors will have limited access to the building and may require an appointment.


Will ISLA be checking teachers’ or students’ temperatures?

  • Everyone who enters the building (staff, students, volunteers, visitors) will be responsible for monitoring their own symptoms. 
  • Parents will be responsible for making sure their children are symptom-free before sending them to school. 
  • If you enter the school building, you are confirming that you are healthy and do not have any suspected COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who has suspected COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and monitor. Follow MDH guidelines for when it is safe to return to school. 
  • Please print out the following fact sheet and refer to it every morning. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, please do not come into the building.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community/schools-childcare/Daily-Home-Screening-for-Students-Checklist-ACTIVE-rev5A.pdf


If my child needs to quarantine/exclude for 14 days, will they be able to do lessons online while at home?

  • Yes, students will be able to participate in distance learning.

Does my child need to wear a face covering all day at school?

  • All students, staff, and others present in school buildings and districts offices or riding on school transportation vehicles are required to wear face coverings. 
  • Acceptable face coverings include: disposable or paper mask, cloth face mask, or religious face covering.
  • The covering should cover the nose and mouth completely, should not be overly tight or restrictive, and should feel comfortable to wear. A face covering is not meant to substitute for social distancing, but is especially important in situations when maintaining a 6-foot distance is not possible.
  • Face coverings may be temporarily removed to eat or drink, but care should be taken to maintain as much space as possible between people, recognizing it is not always feasible to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  •  Face coverings may be temporarily removed when engaging in classes or activities held outdoors. People participating in these activities should maintain 6 feet of distance while doing so to the extent feasible.
  • While teachers and students may temporarily remove their face coverings when public speaking (for example, in a debate or speech team competition or in an assembly), lecturing, or engaging in classroom instruction, face coverings should only be removed in such situations when 12 feet of distance from others can be consistently maintained. 
  • Consider where your child will place their mask when it is temporarily removed. Some options include a fanny pack, shoulder bag, labeled Ziploc or paper bag.


Should my child bring their own refillable water bottle?

  • Yes, each student should have their own water bottle. The bottle filler station will be available at select times for each classroom, and will be cleaned in-between.

Distance Learning 

How will ISLA improve upon distance learning as families experienced it in the spring of 2020? 

  • We recognize the need for clearer instructional objectives, more ease in accessing learning, and more consistency in schedules and learning between and among grade levels.  Our teachers have already and will continue to participate in multiple professional development opportunities around best practices for distance learning.  Consistently is key, and teachers are building essential agreements to proactively ensure a more successful distance learning experience.


What technology platform will be used?

  • We are excited to share more details about our new learning platform, Toddle, with families.  Toddle 360, created by and for IB PYP educators, will provide teachers and families with a one-stop solution for both in-school and online learning. (Seesaw and Google Classroom will remain available as we archive and transition students’ portfolios to our new system.) 


What support can students with an IEP expect during distance learning?

As we have discussed at several board meetings, students with an IEP will receive support services on a case by case basis.

Can 2nd through 6th grade students connect with their teachers in person every month or every 6-8 weeks?

We would love to make this happen and making plans to bring this to fruition.

Will all teachers have the same schedule for distance learning?

At ISLA, we value teacher agency, but we understand the need for consistency during distance learning.  Teachers are currently hard at work creating essential agreements that will promote best practices across classrooms and grade levels and make the distance learning experience consistent for families.  The daily schedule of synchronous and asynchronous learning will be consistent for Kindergarten-1st grade and 2nd through 6th grade.


When will ISLA reevaluate the possibility of more in-person learning?

We have been instructed by the Minnesota Department of Education to work with our Regional Planning Groups to revise the changing Covid data every week and reevaluate the possibility of more or less in person learning as is needed. ISLA would like to commit to one learning model for each for the entire semester, but we are also open to pivoting our model as is feasible and as more resources become available.

When will families have the opportunity to make a change between the distance-only and hybrid models that are offered? This is difficult to determine, but we have been instructed by the Minnesota Department of Education to work with our Regional Planning Groups to revise the changing Covid data every week and reevaluate the possibility of more or less in person learning as is needed. ISLA would like to commit to one learning model for each 8 week period if possible.

What will a typical daily schedule for online learning in 2nd - 6th grade include?

Grades 2-6 Sample Distance Learning Schedule (Monday to Thursday)

9:00 am:   Pre-Learning Period (Asynchronous) Preparing for the day, revision of previous lessons. 


9:30 am: Learning Period One (Synchronous learning:  Morning Meeting/Community Building,  Learning Engagements). 

10:30 am:  Learning Period Two (Asynchronous).  Digital and offline learning engagements

11:30- 12:30 Student Lunch and Break

12:30 pm:  Learning Period Three (Asynchronous and Synchronous) Digital and offline learning engagements, small group and/or individual  meetings with teachers.

1:30 pm:  Learning Period Four  (Asynchronous) Digital and offline learning engagements , Independent Reading, etc. 

2:55: End of School Day

3:15- 4:30: Teacher Office Hours


What would a typical daily schedule include for families who choose distance learning for Kinder and 1st grade students?

9:00 am:   Pre-Learning Period (Asynchronous) Preparing for the day, revision of previous lessons. 

9:30 am: Learning Period One (Synchronous learning:  Morning Meeting, Learning Engagements). 

10:00 am (kinder) 10:15 (1st grade) Learning Period Two (Asynchronous).  Digital and offline learning engagements.

11:30- 12:30 Student Lunch and Break

12:30 pm:  Learning Period Three (Synchronous and asynchronous -Digital and offline learning engagements and small group and individual meetings with teachers)

1:30 pm Learning Period Four  (Asynchronous) Digital and offline learning engagements

2:55--End of School Day

3:30- 4:30, Teacher Office hours


How much time should students expect to spend on a computer during distance learning?

This will vary, but the expectation is from 1- 2 hours