COVID - 2021-2022

West Central Area Schools

Serving the communities of Barrett, Elbow Lake, Hoffman, Kensington & Wendell

 

 

Greetings WCA Families:

 

The beginning of every school year seems to arrive suddenly and school personnel frequently find themselves juggling end of summer tasks with preparing for the upcoming year.  Planning for this year presented a little twist for school administrators and School Board members as new COVID variants emerged and positive cases began to rise.  Developing a “Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan” for WCA began early in August and adjustments have been made throughout the month.

 

WCA residents experienced a great degree of freedom from COVID restrictions during the summer and the majority appear to want limited restrictions as we begin the school year.  District administration and Board members have worked cautiously to limit restrictions.  At our September 1, 2021 Board meeting, we reviewed the August 18th Plan and we had a long discussion related to imposing quarantines.  Most of our discussion revolved around who must, who should, and who is exempt from quarantine.  Last school year we experienced a very small number of reported positive cases among students but we had far more impacted by quarantine.  Because of the number of quarantined students we experienced last year with a very small number of COVID positive cases resulting from close contact, our Board is reluctant to require quarantine when CDC language only "recommends" or states "should" quarantine.  We also found MDH language that recommended quarantine. 

 

To begin the school year, a decision was made to only require quarantine when directed by a medical provider.  When District personnel become aware of a positive COVID case in our building or during school activities, we will notify families of potential exposure but will not require a period of quarantine.  We will continue to monitor our local condition and make changes to more restrictive procedures if warranted.

 

Thank you for your understanding and support of Board and administrative related decisions and we ask for your continued support as we progress through the school year. 

 

 

COVID – Safe Return to In-Person Learning

September 1, 2021

 

The Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan was developed by the WCA Administrative Team and faculty representatives.  We are excited to begin the school year without many of the restrictions we faced last year.  It is imperative that we continue to provide a healthy and safe environment for our students and staff.

 

Guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education, Horizon Public Health and input received from staff and families aided in plan development.  The plan will be presented to the WCA Board of Education for approval or modification on August 18, 2021.  The plan is subject to change and will be modified if our local circumstances change or if state agencies adopt specific requirements for schools.

 

Instruction:         

In-person learning for five days per week
Distance learning will not be offered other than for inclement weather days
Absences due to quarantine will be managed as other absences

Face Coverings:               

Face coverings are recommended for indoor activities, but not required
Any parent who wants their child to wear a mask or face covering will supported by school personnel
The Center for Disease Control requires masks on school buses
Face coverings will be required on contracted buses and on school provided transportation
Passengers refusing to wear an approved face covering will not be allowed to enter the vehicle

 

Vaccinations:                    

The District will not require vaccinations
The CDC and MDH recommend vaccinations for eligible students and adults                       
Vaccinations may reduce the quarantine time for those exposed to COVID
                         
Proof of vaccination will be required for a shortened quarantine period

Social Distancing:            

Classroom desks will be arranged to maintain a minimum 3-foot distancing                         
There will be no distance/seating restriction on school transportation other than
 the vehicle’s capacity rating

 

Contact Tracing:               

District personnel will conduct contact tracing and notification for exposures occurring in school or during school activities                                               
Masks are required on school provided and contracted transportation so
 contact tracing will not be conducted

 

Quarantine:                       

The District will comply with quarantine timelines directed by medical providers
The District will notify families of close contacts but will not require quarantine                 
The District will monitor local positive COVID rates and reconsider quarantine 
periods if COVID infections become more prominent

                                               

Testing:                               

The District has no plans to conduct testing on school premises                                         
The District will recommend testing consistent with recommendations of the
 CDC, MDH and Horizon Public Health
The District will follow testing requirements of the CDC and MDH

 

Other Precautions:         

Hand washing and hand sanitizing will continue to be emphasized
Covering face when coughing or sneezing
Use of shared resources and supplies will be minimized
Clear plexiglass barriers will continue to be used in many areas
Stay home when you are ill or have a fever
Remain home for at least 24 hours after a fever has subsided without the use of medication
MDH and MDE requirements will be implemented
MDH and MDE recommendations will be considered for implementation              

 

Meals:                                 

Regular student meals will be provided at no cost by the USDA
All table seats will be available for use at lunch

Communication:              

Changes in the plan will be conveyed through our school messaging system                       
The Safe Return to In-Person Learning will be posted on our District Website
The District will distribute information provided by the CDC, MDH, MDE and Horizon Public Health

 

Plan Changes:                   

After consultation with the Board Chair and notification of the Board, the superintendent has authority to modify the health and safety plan

 

Please keep in mind that change may occur due to mandates from the CDC, MDH or MDE or as local circumstances change.  Students, families and staff demonstrated phenomenal cooperation during the 2020-2021 school year.  We request your continued understanding and support as we provide a safe and healthy environment for in-person learning.

 

WCA Board Approval – September 1, 2021