We are excited to welcome students back for the 2021-2022 school year! At the end of last school year, we were hopeful that COVID concerns would be behind us. Unfortunately, the development of new variants and increasing infection rates have altered our hopes. Although we are moving back toward a normal school experience, COVID still remains a concern.
The spiritual and physical health and wellbeing of our students and staff is a priority at St. Odilia School. The mitigation strategies detailed here were developed by the entire leadership team at St. Odilia after many hours of research, prayer, and discussion. We are committed to protecting all students, staff, and visitors and ask that you continue to work with us to ensure everyone's safety.
Parents were key in helping keep our students healthy last school year by performing daily health assessments of their children. We are asking parents to do this again and keep children home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
Handwashing & Sanitizing
Students will be 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.
St. Odilia will require masking inside the building for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinated teachers and staff will be allowed to remove their masks to teach and work periodically during the day. Some examples of this would be: teaching from the front of the room, when facial expressions are important to the lesson, and when teaching a phonics lesson. Per the federal mandate, masks are required on all buses and all public transportation.
Students who are experiencing any symptoms of illness must be kept home and the online attendance form must be completed. Depending on symptoms reported, the student may need to get a COVID test or have an alternative diagnosis before returning to school. If COVID negative, ill students need to stay home until they have symptom improvement and no fever (>100.4) for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication. Siblings of an ill student may remain in school as long as they are healthy. If the ill child’s COVID test comes back positive, siblings will need to be picked up immediately. Guidance will be followed from the MDH Decision Tree in regards to symptoms and the need to get tested.Recommended COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth Programs, and Child Care Programs (state.mn.us)
Students who need to miss school due to illness or quarantine will be provided resources from their teacher(s) to complete with work that was missed. We will not be providing a remote learning model this year.
A close contact who is wearing a well-fitting mask will NOT need to quarantine if an exposure should occur while at school. We will be following the MDH Decision Tree and will continue to work with MDH and make determinations on a case-by-case basis. For exposures within the household, an unvaccinated person will need to quarantine for a period of time to be determined cooperatively with MDH and school health office. Vaccinated members of the household who are symptom-free may return to school.
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 an 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.
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.
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.
Students will have recess with students in their grade level and will not be limited to specific zones. Masks are optional while outdoors.
School Mass is a very important part of each child’s experience at St. Odilia. We are looking forward to welcoming more children back into the church on a weekly basis. To begin the school year, we will allow half the school to attend in person and the other half will participate in Mass through live streaming. The groups will rotate every other week. Parents of the grade level that is leading Mass will be invited to attend and be seated in one section of the church. Masks are required.
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.