Safe Return to School Plan 2021-2022
The recently passed American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides substantial federal resources to support states and local school districts. As a result, local school districts are required to develop a plan, which details the safe return to in-person instruction and the continuity of services. This plan is developed with stakeholder feedback and will be monitored and revised based on ongoing review through September 30, 2023.
Minnesota Math and Science Academy is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff, students, parents/guardians, and visitors. To ensure we have a safe and healthy workplace, Minnesota Math and Science Academy has developed the following Safe Return to School Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrators and workers are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our workers and management. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons in our workplaces.
Minnesota Math and Science Academy’s Safe Return to School Plan follows the COVID-19 Universal Guidance for All Businesses and Entities developed by the state of Minnesota, available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website, which is based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines for COVID-19, Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) statutes, rules and standards, and Minnesota’s relevant and current executive orders as well as Federal ESSER requirements. The following requirements must be addressed, but each entity is encouraged to consider additional recommendations and adopt additional requirements that appropriately address COVID-19 mitigation strategies the business deems necessary.
• Health screening, isolation, and quarantine
• Hand hygiene practices
• Cleaning and disinfecting
• Indoor facilities, utilities, and ventilation
Health screening, isolation, and quarantine
Staff Reporting of Health Status:
All teachers and staff will be asked to review symptoms and take their temperature daily at home; they will stay home if symptomatic. All staff will remain home with any of the following symptoms to prevent the possible spread of COVID, fever, chills, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, loss of taste or smell, cough, muscle aches/pain, tiredness/fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. All staff and students may be required to self-quarantine and stay home if they are living in a household with a positive COVID patient, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, according to the latest health department guidelines.
School administration will follow school policy regarding staff illness and prevention; school administration may contact the Human Resources department for guidance and support.
Student Temperature Checks:
● Temperature check will be done as soon as students enter the building and during the day by classroom teachers as well.
● The school nurse may check the temperature of students upon the recommendation of school personnel during the school day.
● Students with elevated temperatures or flu-like symptoms will be referred to the school nurse for assessment.
● Nursing staff will follow protocol for students that exhibit fevers and notify parent/guardian for pick up if needed.
Hand hygiene practices
Health experts advise that the best course of action is to practice good hand washing skills; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth; practice distancing yourselves from others, and avoid large groups. The first two points are certainly the easiest to control.
Hand washing is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of infection. Hand washing procedures should be followed even if gloves have been worn. If an emergency situation precludes proper hand washing, the hands should be washed as soon as possible after exposure.
• Proper handwashing will be taught in classrooms at the first week of the school year and continue to be reviewed as needed.
• Hand sanitizers will be available in all classrooms, offices, and at the entrance all the time.
Any skin surface that comes into contact with blood or other body fluids should be cleansed using the same procedures used for hands. Hands should be washed:
○ Before and after touching open wounds (even if gloves are worn)
○ Before eating
○ After any direct exposure to blood or other body fluids.
○ After removing gloves
○ After handling soiled or contaminated items and equipment
○ After using the toilet
The correct method used for hand cleaning and decontamination is with soap and water:
○ Wet hands
○ Lather hands with either bar soap or liquid soap
○ Rub repeatedly for at least 20 seconds
○ Turn faucets off using a dry paper towel.
○ Dry hands properly and dispose of used paper towel in a plastic bag
● MMSA will provide all classrooms with all necessary supplies, including sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and face coverings.
● Custodial attention will be increased in the following areas:
All surfaces and items with frequent hand contact (like doorknobs, desks, faucets, handrails, and cell phones) are being managed, particularly areas visibly soiled.
● Custodial and cafeteria staff have access to cleaning agents that all staff can use in between regular cleanings as needed.
In addition to daily general cleaning for classrooms, custodial staff will immediately institute the additional sanitation measures outlined in CDC and MDH Guidelines and Procedures, including:
1. Wipe down all hard surfaces with a disinfectant solution and disposable towels. This includes but may not be limited to desktops, tabletops, and chairs.
2. Mist the room with a disinfectant spray as a final step before leaving the room.
3. Dispose of all towels used to disinfect a room. Disposable towels will not be used to disinfect more than one room.
4. Custodians are to ensure there are tissues available in all instructional areas. Teachers will instruct students on the use and disposal of tissues when sneezing or coughing.
5. Custodians are to make sure soap is available in all restrooms. Teachers will supervise students in frequent and thorough hand washing and hand drying.
6. MMSA will advise all students and staff to be particularly mindful of eating well, drinking plenty of liquids, and getting adequate sleep.
Additional COVID-19 mitigation practices
The best way to prevent illness is to get vaccinated (age 12 and over) and avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Viruses can remain on frequently touched objects such as doorknobs and cell phones for quite some time. If you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face, you can transfer the germs, which can lead to illness.
• Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Block the spread of germs by using a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Do not use your bare hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
MMSA employees and families should consult with the school nurse when determining whether to be tested for COVID-19. Testing is available free of charge at many places in the city. Please get in touch with the school nurses for a list of testing locations.
• Staff members and students may not report to the building while awaiting test results. Once received, employees should share a copy of the test results with the school nurse.
•MMSA may require that employees receive additional COVID testing periodically.
•MMSA prefers PCR testing as opposed to antigen testing when a community member demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19. MMSA will have rapid tests available to use if needed.
•MMSA participates in an antigen testing program on a weekly basis to screen students and staff periodically.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Face coverings that cover both the nose and mouth are our best tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses spread by respiratory transmission. The following are requirements related to face coverings atMMSA:
• Face coverings are required for all staff, students, and visitors when entering theMMSA facility.
• Face coverings must cover both the nose and mouth completely.
• Face coverings must be worn when two individuals are working in the same space.
• Best efforts should be made to allow a minimum of three feet of distance between persons working in the same space – even when they are wearing face coverings.
• There is no need for individuals to wear a face-covering when working on their own in their own space.
• Individuals must wear face coverings over their mouth and nose in common areas such as hallways and restrooms.
• Face shields will also be provided for teachers who want to wear the face shield with their mask, recommended when working closely with students.
• An individual’s face covering must cover their mouth and nose when another person enters their workspace.
• At a minimum, students will maintain a three (3) foot radius around each student’s desk in the classroom.MMSA will minimize contact and social mixing during school hours.
• Maintain 3-6 feet of distance in the following settings:
Between adults in the school building (teachers and staff) and between adults and students. Several studies have found that transmission between staff is more common than transmission between students and staff, and among students, in schools.
When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating.
During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band, or sports and exercise. Move these activities outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces.
In common areas.
• Modify learning stations and activities as applicable, so there are fewer students per group.
• Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls (e.g., guides for creating “one-way routes” in hallways).
Parents will drop off their students at the entrance and will not be allowed to be in the building unless they have a scheduled meeting. Students will go directly to the classrooms. Extra staff will be available for the safe direction of children. The students will be met at the door by the teachers, who will have hand sanitizer available. All their belongings will go with them to their classroom.
It is preferred that ALL parents wait in their cars, your student/students will be called for and will walk down to you. We will have all available staff to help children get to their correct cars. We will be calling for small groups at a time to limit a large crowd gathering. If you are walking to pick up, you must socially distance yourself while in line and waiting for your child.
The elementary students will be escorted to their buses by their teachers at the time of dismissal. There will be staff available to help students to get in their busses in a timely and safe manner as well as staff will be checking the traffic during the time and guide the cars and busses accordingly. Social distancing will be encouraged all the time.
Parents who need to make a payment or drop off an item may do so by coming to the front office with a mask on and following social distancing guidelines. We will limit the number of people in the lobby to 2 families at any given time
MMSA will be strictly following these and other safety procedures across all areas of the school building:
● Limiting visitors to essential personnel only.
● Documentation of all persons on campus, including but not limited to vendors, parents, and faculty.
● Designating a quarantine space.
● Designating an outdoor waiting area for parent pick-up.
● Social distancing in all indoor areas.
● Scheduled transition times to prevent close contact of multiple groups of students.
● Physical education will take place as often as possible. Children may remove their masks during this time. Students are expected to place their masks back on before returning to the classroom.
● Encouraging all students to bring a water bottle. They will be allowed to drink from them as we will turn all drinking fountains off to prevent the possible spread of infection.
● Special subjects will still be offered, students may be traveling to those classrooms with masks on. The students will wipe their area in the new classroom before sitting down.
● NO toys or other objects from home that are not on the school supply list.
● NO outside visitors for volunteering, coming for “lunch date,” etc. (We need to keep a minimal amount of people in the building.)
● If you need to pick your student/students up early, please notify the front office by email at least 30 minutes prior to picking your child up
● Students who develop cold or flu-like symptoms in school will immediately be sent to the nurse after the teacher has called the nurse to be assured of no or few other students in the nurse’s office to prevent possible exposures.
● Students will not be required to wear masks during outside recess.
● Recess activities must be limited to choices that permit social distancing.
● Recess times will be staggered to allow social distancing.
● Students will be taught how to practice social distancing. Designated areas will be assigned in the outdoor play area to allow for distancing between student cohorts.
Health Room Procedures:
● MMSA will have an isolation room
● Any student with flu-like or cold symptoms will be placed in the isolation room. They will be provided with a mask if they do not have one. This is to help prevent the spread of any potential virus.
● The nurse must complete the Suspected COVID19 Case Form, call the MDH and other related agencies, and seek advice regarding transportation and location.
● The nurse and others attending the suspected infected person WILL wear a protective mask, gown, face shield, and gloves while working with the suspected infected person.
● The nurse will direct the ill employee to leave work or call the parent of the student to be picked up and go home.
● The nurse and campus/district supervisor must identify persons who may have come in contact with the suspected infected person.
Health Protocol for teachers and staff:
● If an employee becomes ill at work or if another person is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 at work, they may be asked to leave work and go home or to the nearest health center.
● Employees returning to work from an approved medical leave should contact the school nurse or administration. You will be asked to submit a healthcare provider’s note before returning to work.
Health Emergency Procedures
●MMSA will verify that staff and parent emergency contact lists are up to date.
● The school nurse/attendance secretary will keep a record of students and staff who leave school due to illness.
● The school has identified an area to temporarily hold students suspected of having influenza and/or a respiratory illness until parents arrive. This same space or another will be used in the event large numbers of students or staff become ill.
● Counselors/Social Workers will develop specific strategies and share calming techniques with students, and parents coping with fear and anxiety about current health events.
During the 2021-2022 school year, families of students K-12 will have the options of in-person and distance learning models. Families of students who are at increased risk of severe illness (including those with special healthcare needs) or who live with people at high risk may choose to access any of these learning options offered at the grade level of their child(ren).
• Breakfast and lunch will be provided to all students in the in-person learning model.
Support mental health and wellness
• The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a tremendous amount of stress, fear, and anxiety for many people. It’s important that Minnesotans have access to the mental health care resources they need to stay well during this challenging time. Schools can play an important role in helping students and staff cope, access needed resources, and build resilience.
• For Employees:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for Staff and Their Families
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for Staff and Their Families Spanish
Minnesota Health Helpline
Hennepin Mental Health Crisis Line