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    The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently announced it has officially adopted shortened COVID-19 isolation and quarantine periods of five days. This shift aligns with the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it focuses on reducing the spread of the Omicron variant in schools with fewer disruptions to in-person learning. 

    This new guidance allows students and staff who test positive to return to school five days after the positive test or the onset of symptoms IF they are fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving (they feel well enough to resume normal activity). If symptoms persist, they are still required to stay at home.

    In response, St. Odilia School will be adopting these new guidelines for all students and staff effective Wednesday, January 19. Students and staff who are currently in quarantine or isolation and would qualify for an earlier return based on this new guidance will be contacted by the health office.  

    St. Odilia School is working to focus its mitigation efforts on more sustainable, efficient, effective, and consistent practices. Like most schools at this time, we are faced with challenges that require patience, flexibility, and cooperation from our staff, students, and families. 

    Below you will find updated guidance for St. Odilia School or click below for a printable summary of our isolation & quarantine guidelines. 

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    Health Checks

    Parents are key in helping keep our students healthy by performing daily health assessments of their children. We are asking parents to continue to keep children home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.

    Absences

    Students who are experiencing any symptoms of illness must be kept home and the online attendance form must be completed.  

    Students who need to miss school due to illness, isolation, or quarantine will be provided resources from their teacher(s) to complete with work that was missed.  We are not providing a remote learning model this year.

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    Isolation

    For anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

    If
    symptomatic

    • Remain home for five days (Day 0 = the first day of symptoms, or the day a positive nasal swab or saliva test was taken). 
    • Return on Day 6 if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving (you feel well enough to resume normal activity).
      • A well-fitted mask, properly worn, is necessary when returning to school on day 6. 
      • Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitted mask will continue to stay home through Day 10. 

    If asymptomatic: 

    • Remain home for five days. (Day 0 = the first day of symptoms, or the day a positive nasal swab or saliva test was taken). 
    • Return on Day 6 if you continue to be asymptomatic. 
      • A well-fitted mask, properly worn, is necessary when returning to school on day 6. 
      • Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitted mask will continue to stay home through Day 10. 
    • If symptoms develop, restart the 5 day isolation, starting on Day 0.

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    Quarantine

    Students or staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 outside of their home will not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic and one of the following is true:

    • They have had a confirmed positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days. 
       OR
    • They provide documentation showing they are fully vaccinated with a primary vaccine series and a booster dose if eligible. 
       OR
    • They are masked during their exposure. 

     

    Students or staff who live with someone with tests positive for COVID-19:

    • Continue normal activity if vaccinated or have had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days. 

    (The MDH recommends to continue to monitor for symptoms and get tested 5-7 days after exposure even if asymptomatic as part of a layered mitigation strategy)

     OR

    • Quarantine for five days if the above does not apply.
    • If the exposed person remains asymptomatic and has a negative test, they may return to school on day 6. 

    (The MDH recommends to continue to monitor for symptoms and get tested 5-7 days after exposure even if asymptomatic as part of a layered mitigation strategy)

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    Staying Home with Symptoms

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and do one of the following: 

    Handwashing & Sanitizing

    Students are given frequent and regular opportunities throughout the day to wash and/or sanitize their hands. We know hand-washing is a critical step in keeping everyone healthy.

    Masks

    St. Odilia will require masking inside the building for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. MDH recommends wearing a high-quality mask to help limit COVID-19, including variants like Omicron. Examples of high-quality masks include medical-grade masks, N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets. Masks will remain required at school. Per the federal mandate, masks are required on all buses and all public transportation.

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    Contact Tracing

    Considering the rapid spread of this variant and the early period when a person is most infectious, schools around the state have found contract tracing is often inconsistent, ineffective, and inefficient. At St. Odilia, we will conduct contact tracing for school-based contacts only in unique circumstances. Instead, the focus will be on household contacts, where the spread is most likely. 

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    Notifications

    • Elementary school families (Preschool - 5) will receive a notification of possible exposure for each case within their child’s homeroom.
    • Middle School families (6-8) will continue to receive notification for possible exposures within their grade. 


    Each school day, the total number of active and cumulative cases will be posted on our dashboard. Numbers only represent students and staff who are on-site while infectious.

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    Travel Guidelines

    We are asking families to assess their risk in terms of exposure to COVID during travel, and if deemed to be a higher exposure level to follow the guidelines laid out by the CDC in order to ensure that exposure in the building does not occur. If you need help determining risks, please contact the health office and a nurse will happily discuss these guidelines with you.

    Domestic Travel During COVID-19 | CDC

    Air Quality

    Air cleaners and HVAC filters are designed to filter pollutants or contaminants out of the air that passes through them. Air cleaning and filtration can help reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses. Portable air cleaners (also known as air purifiers) may be particularly helpful when additional ventilation with outdoor air is not possible without compromising indoor comfort (temperature or humidity). Our current HVAC systems exceed standards, but we are still looking at adding air purifiers or ionization systems in classrooms and other rooms in the building. Air purifiers have already been added to the cafeteria.

    Lunchroom

    Students will be eating in the lunchroom with their grade level. Students will be masked until they are seated and ready to begin eating. The total amount of time students will be seated and unmasked will typically be less than 15 minutes. Additional air purifiers have been added to the lunchroom.

    Recess

    Students will have recess with students in their grade level and will not be limited to specific zones. Masks are optional while outdoors.

     

    Visitors & Volunteers

    We are excited to be able to welcome people into the building this year. Visitors and volunteers will be limited and will be required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.