MNCS Title

MNCS COVID-19 RESPONSE PAGE

Weekly Updates from the MNCS COVID Coordinators Team 4/6/21

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

Thank you for continuing to monitor for symptoms, testing your children, and letting us know immediately about any COVID-19 situations as they arise: covid19@newcountryschool.com. Cases are rising quickly nationwide, and are more prevalent in youth this time around. We’re hoping to be able to stay the course and finish the school year with some in-person learning, but it takes vigilance and caution from all of our community members to make sure that happens.

Our Week By the Numbers…(MDH data from 3/7-3/20/21)

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw the most students from

33/10,000 (rising)

Number  of Positive Cases 

MNCS Staff & Students

2

# of Students & Staff in contact/ Quarantine 

5

NEW UPDATES:

At Home Saliva Testing Update - MDH and MDE continue to recommend that students who are coming to school on a regular basis get COVID tested every two weeks, and students showing any symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested as soon as possible. VAULT health has an easy online/at home saliva test that is convenient if you live close to a UPS drop site. If you do not live near a UPS drop site, your student may bring their completed saliva test kit to school and we will make sure UPS receives their sample ASAP. They can give their sealed sample bags to Jamie at the Elementary or Nick at the high school.

Vaccine Availability - As of March 30th, all Minnesotans age 16 and up are eligible to receive a vaccination, with priority still being given to certain populations. Sign up with the MN Vaccine Connector here to be contacted when a vaccine is available in your area.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid 19 Testing for students and families (MDH Family Testing Link)

  • The department of health and MDE are recommending that students who are attending school in person get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. We want to emphasize that students are not required to do routine testing in order to come to school. 

Out of state travel quarantine requirements

  • If students travel out of state, there is a requirement to quarantine on their return. Quarantine can be 7 days, if tested on or after day 5 and the test is negative. Without testing, the length of quarantine is 10 days. For quarantine purposes, day one is considered to be the day after you arrive home.

If you have questions, contact Minnesota New Country School at covid19@newcountryschool.com .

Thank you for helping to keep our school community safe.

On behalf of the Minnesota New Country School Covid Coordinator Team 

Weekly Updates from the MNCS COVID Coordinators Team (Update: 3/22/21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

Thank you for continuing to monitor for symptoms, testing your children, and letting us know immediately about any COVID-19 situations as they arise: covid19@newcountryschool.com 

Our Week By the Numbers…(MDH data from 2/7-2/20/21)

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw 

the most students from

27/10,000 (rising)

Number  of Positive Cases 

MNCS Staff & Students

2

# of Students & Staff in contact/ Quarantine 

2

NEW UPDATES:

At Home Saliva Testing Update - MDH and MDE continue to recommend students that are coming to school on a regular basis get COVID tested every two weeks, and students showing any symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested as soon as possible. VAULT health has an easy online/at home saliva test that is convenient if you live close to a UPS drop site. If you do not live near a UPS drop site, your student may bring their completed saliva test kit to school and we will make sure UPS receives their sample ASAP.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid 19 Testing for students and families (MDH Family Testing Link)

  • The department of health and MDE are recommending that students who are attending school in person get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. We want to emphasize that students are not required to do routine testing in order to come to school. 

Out of state travel quarantine requirements

  • If students travel out of state, there is a requirement to quarantine on their return. Quarantine can be 7 days, if tested on or after day 5 and the test is negative. Without testing the length of quarantine is 10 days. For quarantine purposes, day one is considered to be the day after you arrive home.

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 3.16.21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

It’s great to see more high school students back in the building today after the unexpected snow day yesterday. With two classrooms out for quarantine, it’s quiet at the elementary. MDH is continuing to see increasing case numbers around schools and sports, and growing instances of the b-117 variant are continuing to cause concern. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health if any additional cases occur in either building. Thank you for continuing to monitor for symptoms, testing your children, and letting us know immediately about any COVID-19 situations as they arise: covid19@newcountryschool.com

By the Numbers...MDH data from 2/7-2/20/21

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw 

the most students from

24/10,000 (holding steady)

Number  of Positive Cases 

MNCS Staff & Students

2

# of Students & Staff in contact Quarantine 

24


NEW UPDATES:

Grades 7-12 Schedule Update (Repeated from last week)

Reminder for all families that grades 7-12 students in hybrid learning will be returning to school two days per week beginning 3/15/21. The groupings are as follows:

Monday-Tuesday Advisories: Anthony, Cory, Jake, Jenn, Carrie

Weds-Thurs Advisories: Paul, Nichole, Nick, Jim

Please contact your student’s advisor with any questions about the updated schedules.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid 19 Testing for students and families (MDH Family Testing Link)

  • The department of health and MDE are recommending that students who are attending school in person get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. We want to emphasize that students are not required to do routine testing in order to come to school. 

Out of state travel quarantine requirements

  • If students travel out of state, there is a requirement to quarantine on their return. Quarantine can be 7 days, if tested on or after day 5 and the test is negative. Without testing, the length ofWithout testing, the length of quarantine is 10 days. For quarantine purposes, day one is considered to be the day after you arrive home.

 

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 3.10.21)

Dear MNCS Families:

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with Minnesota New Country School has identified the Frogs (kindergarten) and the Swans (grades 2-3) as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The classes had close contact at MNCS on 3/8/2021.

As a close contact, your child will need to stay home from school and not take part in any activities/sports for 14 days. Your child can return on 03/23/21 as long as they do not develop symptoms during this time and other requirements for ending quarantine are met. See Close Contacts and Tracing (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/close.html)

Testing is recommended at least five days after the last time your child was in close contact to the person with COVID-19. If they get tested too soon, the test may not be able to detect the virus. However, testing does not shorten the quarantine period, even with a negative test result.  Other children living in your home, if not named above, can continue to go to child care, school, and other community activities.

Please closely monitor your child for symptoms. Children with even just one symptom from the list below  must not attend child care, school, or other activities and should isolate from others right away in the home and get tested. If your child starts to have ANY of the following symptoms, have them stay home, in one room of the house and away from others right away, and as much as possible.

▪   Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

▪   New cough or a cough that gets worse

▪   Difficulty/hard time breathing

▪   New loss of taste or smell

▪   Sore throat

▪   Nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose

▪   Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

▪   Muscle pain

▪   Extreme fatigue/feeling very tired

▪   Severe/very bad headache

▪   Chills

Please talk to your doctor or other health care provider about getting your child tested, or visit Find Testing Locations (https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/index.jsp).

  • If your child’s test result is positive, notify Minnesota New Country School at covid19@newcountryschool.com as soon as possible. A positive test means your child may need to stay at home longer than 14 days. People who test positive can give the virus to others. Your child needs to stay at home, in one room and away from others as much as possible for at least 10 days from the date their symptoms started, or from the date they were tested if they do not have symptoms, and until they feel better. The 10 days start when the symptoms begin. If your child starts to have ANY of the symptoms above, have them stay home, in one room of the house and away from others right away, and as much as possible

  •  If your child develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, everyone who lives in the house needs to stay home for at least 14 days. The 14 days start on the day they are able to stay separated from the child who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19. People who cannot stay separated from the child will need to stay home 14 days after the child who is positive finishes their 10-day isolation. After 10 days, it is thought that people are no longer able to spread the virus to others. This could mean staying home longer than 14 days.

The following information may help families:

We are sorry for the problems this may cause your family. We want to keep children in child care/school as much as we can, and as safely as we can. To stop outbreaks and to keep child care/schools open, we need to do everything we can to stop community spread of COVID-19.

We learn more all the time about how COVID-19 spreads. We now know the virus spreads easier when people share a small space, and the risk of spreading increases the longer people share that space. Face coverings help us protect each other, but they are just one way we can try to stop the spread of COVID-19. Keeping close contacts of someone with COVID-19 away from healthy people is another important way to stop the spread.

Resources that you may find helpful:

If you have questions, contact Minnesota New Country School at covid19@newcountryschool.com .

Thank you for helping to keep our school community safe.

On behalf of the Minnesota New Country School Elementary staff and Covid Coordinator team 

MNCS COVID 19: Weekly UPDATE (Dated 3.08.21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

Spring is in the air, COVID cases are still down from the early winter peak, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Carver County just announced they’re taking steps to mitigate an outbreak of the B177 variant. It’s important people continue to distance, mask, test if possible, and stay vigilant so we can continue to bring students into school for the remainder of the year.

By the Numbers...MDH data from 2/7-2/20/21

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw the most students from

24/10,000 (slight decrease)

Number  of Positive Cases 

MNCS Staff & Students

0

# of Students & Staff in contact Quarantine 

0

NEW UPDATES:

Grades 7-12 Schedule Update 

Reminder for all families that grades 7-12 students in hybrid learning will be returning to school two days per week beginning 3/15/21. The groupings are as follows:

Monday-Tuesday Advisories: Anthony, Cory, Jake, Jenn, Carrie

Weds-Thurs Advisories: Paul, Nichole, Nick, Jim

Please contact your student’s advisor with any questions about the updated schedules.

Graduation Update

Our 2021 graduation ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 22nd at 1pm. Last week MDE informed us they are working on updated plans for safely holding ceremonies. We intend to have a ceremony as scheduled, but until we get further guidance from MDE we do not have any specific details available.


KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid 19 Testing for students and families (MDH Family Testing Link)

  • The department of health and MDE are recommending that students who are attending school in person get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. We want to emphasize that students are not required to do routine testing in order to come to school. 

Out of state travel quarantine requirements

  • If students travel out of state, there is a requirement to quarantine on their return. Quarantine can be 7 days, if tested on or after day 5 and the test is negative. Without testing, the length of quarantine is 10 days. For quarantine purposes, day one is considered to be the day after you arrive home.

Covid Safety Practices in MNCS Buildings and Transportation (MDH Infographic):

MNCS COVID 19: Weekly UPDATE (Dated 3.03.21)

Greetings MNCS 7-12 Families,

We are excited to inform you that beginning on Monday, March 15th, Grades 7-12, students who have opted for hybrid learning will be able to come to school two days per week. It’s been an interesting year, and we’re happy to be making another step towards a return to normal! 

Students will come to school in person based on their advisory, and will be on either an every Monday-Tuesday or every Wednesday-Thursday schedule. The schedule will be:

Monday-Tuesday Advisories: Anthony, Cory, Carrie, Jenn, Jake

Wednesday-Thursday Advisories: Jim, Nichole, Paul, Nick

Transportation schedules will remain the same for all days. All other COVID-19 precautions will remain in place including required masks, 6 feet of physical distance, quarantine for travel, etc. 

We still have some details to work out on our end, but we wanted to let you know as soon as possible; the 15th of March is rapidly approaching. 

We looked at options for trying to bring students in more than two days a week, but given the limitations of physical spacing in our atrium and on our busses we are unable to accommodate the number of students who want to come in. If distancing requirements change we will revisit the situation at that time.

Please direct any questions to either the COVID Coordinator team at covid19@newcountryschool.com, or contact your student’s advisor.

On behalf of the MNCS Return to Learn Team, Nick Ryan

MNCS COVID 19: Weekly UPDATE (Dated 3.01.21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

While COVID case rates are still down overall, it’s important to stay vigilant in keeping COVID out of school buildings so we can continue with hybrid learning over the coming weeks. 

By the Numbers...MDH data from 1/31-2/13

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw the most students from

27/10,000 (slight increase)

Number  of Positive Cases MNCS Staff & Students

0

# of Students & Staff in Quarantine 

2

NEW UPDATES:

MN Vaccine Connector

  • Vaccine supplies are still limited to certain populations, but the Minnesota Department of Health is recommending all Minnesotans who have yet to be vaccinated sign up with their info on the MN Vaccine Connector website. This will let MDH contact you as soon as a vaccine is available.

Covid 19 Testing for students and families

  • The department of health and MDE are recommending that students who are attending school in person get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. We want to emphasize that students are not required to do routine testing in order to come to school. More information and local testing sites can be found here.

7-12 Hybrid Learning Update

  • We’re still working on a plan to get 7-12 students into school more than one day per week, unless they opt to continue in distance learning. Our building layout and transportation are limiting factors that we’re working through, and we expect to have an announcement later this week.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid Safety Practices in MNCS Buildings and Transportation (MDH Infographic):

  • Students and staff should practice some key behaviors when in MNCS buildings or on MNCS transportation. These include wearing face coverings properly, frequent handwashing and physical distancing.  

  • Let’s continue the good work to keep us all healthy and learning in person! 

MNCS COVID 19: Weekly UPDATE (Dated 2.22.21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

While COVID case rates are still on the decline, it’s important to stay vigilant in keeping COVID out of school buildings so we can continue with hybrid learning over the coming weeks. 

By the Numbers...for the week ending on 2/19/21

Average County Case Rate

For the 5 counties we draw the most students from

24/10,000 & trending down

Number of Positive Cases MNCS Staff & Students

0

# of Students & Staff in Quarantine

2

NEW UPDATES:

Updates to the MDE Safe Learning Plan - Many of you are aware that MDE and MDH have updated the COVID Safe Learning Plan, with a push to have all schools offering either hybrid or in-person learning options for students by March 8th.

  • Both of our sites are currently offering hybrid learning, and are in alignment with the updated goals and mitigation strategies of the updated Safe Learning Plan.

  • We will not be making any immediate changes to our current learning model, but we are looking at ways to start bringing our 7-12 learners into school more than one time per week. We do have major limitations in our building layout and transportation systems that will limit how many students we can transport/have on site given the continued 7-12 grade social distancing requirements.

  • We will continue to update parents as soon as possible if we do make any changes to our learning model. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we continue through this challenging year.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep our students in schools.

  • Following quarantine requirements for close contacts and out of state travel is vital for us to continue in person learning. We understand it is inconvenient and appreciate the support. 

Covid Safety Practices in MNCS Buildings and Transportation (MDH Infographic):

  • Students and staff should practice some key behaviors when in MNCS buildings or on MNCS transportation. These include wearing face coverings properly, frequent handwashing and physical distancing.  

  • Let’s continue the good work to keep us all healthy and learning in person!

MNCS COVID 19: Weekly UPDATE (Dated 2.15.21)

Greetings MNCS Families,

We’re sending out this email to provide some regular updates and current information about our school’s COVID status, and to cover some key reminders for everyone about sending your children to school in our current model. 

It’s been great to see many students back in school again over the past few weeks, and we look forward to continuing to see them going forward! 

NEW UPDATES:

Quarantine After Out of State Travel for Students and Staff - We appreciate all the families that have kept us informed and helped keep our community safe by following the MDH quarantine protocols for travelling out of state. 

Last Thursday (2/11/21) we received an update from our MDH regional support team that, moving forward, student quarantine after traveling out of state will be reduced from 14 to 7 days if the following items are met:

  • documentation of a negative PCR test taken on/after 5 days after returning from travel. For quarantine purposes, day 1 of quarantine begins the day after you return home from travel.

  • have no symptoms through the 7 day quarantine

  • have no further close contacts reported through through the 7 day quarantine

    • Note: if someone you live with or had close contact, travelled or visited with reports a positive case, your quarantine dates reset

  • Inform the Covid Coordinator's Team (covid19@newcountryschool.com) about these items before you return in person to any MNCS buildings.

KEY REMINDERS:

Daily Health and Symptom Screening (MDH Infographic):

  • Please remember to continue daily health and symptom screening for students (and staff) before coming into the building. This is the number one way we can prevent a community outbreak and keep students in schools. 

Covid Safety Practices in MNCS Buildings and Transportation (MDH Infographic):

  • Students and staff should practice some key behaviors when in MNCS buildings or on MNCS transportation. These include wearing face coverings properly, frequent handwashing and physical distancing.  

  • Let’s continue the good work to keep us all healthy and learning in person! 

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE(Dated 1.29.21)

Hello MNCS Families,

MNCS families sometimes use breaks to do a little bit of travelling. With the upcoming break  (2/1-2/5) approaching quickly, it seemed like a good time to re-share the quarantine guidelines for students who have travelled outside of MN or the US. 

The team reviewed the guidance from MDH around quarantine related to travel outside of MN or the United States. The current MDH guidelines do allow for the possibility of a shortened quarantine, but it is strongly recommended to follow the 14 day quarantine. 

MNCS will hold to the 14 day quarantine length for all students travelling outside of MN or the US. The 14 day quarantine starts on the day of your return to MN.

Please contact your student's advisor and the Covid Coordinator Team, at covid19@newcountryschool.com, if your student will need to quarantine due to travel. 

Safe Travels and Returns!

The Covid Coordinator Team

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE(Dated 1.22.21)

Good Afternoon MNCS 7-12 Families,
We are happy to inform you that our 7-12th grade students will be able to return to our Scenario 3 hybrid learning model after our February conference break.

We will return the week of February 8th, using the same scheduling we left in November:

  • Tuesdays: Anthony, Carrie, and Cory’s advisories

  • Wednesdays; Jenn, Jake, and Jim’s advisories 

  • Thursdays:  Paul, Nick, and Nichole’s advisories

All COVID safety protocols will remain in place, including masking and social distancing at all times in MNCS buildings and on all transportation and bussing.

 Many of you may have questions about why schools are able to return to hybrid learning while COVID cases in many local counties are still above 30 per 10,000. The Department of Health and MDE found that schools operating in hybrid modes were able to effectively limit the spread of COVID in school. While county case data remains an important thing for us to monitor, as long as we are not seeing COVID case transmission in our schools we are hoping to be able to remain in hybrid mode even if cases start to rise again. Should community cases rise dramatically, MDH will be advising us on if and when we might need to make another transition to distance learning only. 

Your continued cooperation to prevent the spread of COVID in our schools and communities is essential for us to return to hybrid learning, remain in hybrid learning, and ideally progress back towards a return to full in person learning, Students and staff will need to comply with masking and distancing requirements at all times, including on school buses.  Students who struggle to comply will need to be picked up and brought home. We know this is challenging, but maintaining a safe environment is not optional for us to return to any form of in person learning. 

It is also extremely important that families monitor for COVID symptoms daily, and keep children home from school if they are symptomatic or have possibly been exposed to a positive COVID case.  MDH Home Screening Tool

 We will continue to send more information home as we finalize plans for your students to return. Distance learning will continue to be an option for families who want to remain at home.

Please complete the survey below about your student’s intention to return to hybrid learning or continue with distance learning. We need accurate student numbers so we can manage spacing and transportation.

MNCS Secondary Student Learning Model Survey Winter/Spring 2021 MNCS Return to Learn Guide

If you have any immediate questions, please reach out to the Covid Coordinators team at covid19@newcountryschool.com and we will respond as soon as we are able.

We look forward to seeing our students again soon!

The MNCS Covid Coordinators Team

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 1.14.21)

MNCS-Elem: Update next week K-6 return to Hybrid

Hello Again MNCS K-6 Families,    

As we rapidly approach the highly anticipated return to our Hybrid learning model for K-6 students, there are a few things we wanted to take a few minutes to update you on.

 Remember that next Monday, January 18th there will be No School for K-6 students. Staff needs this day to finish planning and preparing the buildings for students to return. K-6 students will return to Hybrid classrooms on Tuesday, January 19th. As before, K-3 will be attending at the elementary building, and 4-6 will be down at the high school building. Students will be attending Monday-Thursday with Fridays being a distance learning day for all.

 Our Hybrid learning model remains almost the same as it was in the fall. Masks will be required for all students and staff anywhere in the building. Staff will also be required to wear face shields in addition to masks. Students will not need to wear shields, but it might be worth mentioning it to your children so they won’t be surprised when they see us on Tuesday. Also, the state has changed the minimum recommended distancing for elementary students from 6 feet of physical distance to 3 feet of distance. Our goal is to keep the distance between students to 6 feet as much as possible, but please be aware that there may be occasions when they are closer than that.

 One of the changes we are making to our model revolves around staffing absences, and the struggles we had keeping our buildings staffed in the fall. There remains a limited availability of substitute teachers, and the potential for extended teacher absences due to isolation or quarantine scenarios is a real possibility. If a classroom teacher is absent from school for a short or for an extended period of time, their students will need to move into distance learning until that teacher is able to return to the building and the classroom. It is possible that we may need to make the decision to close a specific classroom on very short notice; please have a backup plan in place for your child. We understand that this change will be inconvenient for families, but given the constraints of the current situation it will help prevent the need for an even larger number of students to shift into distance learning if staffing gets tight. 

Remember that the best thing we all can do to continue keeping students in school is to keep your children home from school if they are sick, or if they have been in close contact with a positive COVID case. The MDH guidance and daily screening tool can be found HERE; we recommend you review this literature if you haven’t done so in a while. Please reach out with any Covid-related questions or to report any positive test cases.

 The MNCS Covid Coordinator Team

covid19@newcountryschool.com

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 1.6.21)

Dear MNCS-Elem families, and also MNCS High School families,


We wish you all well as we move into 2021, amidst the many unknowns and challenges. Our most recent email to parents (in late December) shared that the state of Minnesota "has now asked that we prioritize getting our elementary school children back to in-person school." As such, and in accordance with MDE’s recent updates to the MN Safe Learning Plan, our school plan is that 
MNCS-Elem students in K-6th will return to our hybrid learning model on the revised date of:  TUESDAY, JANUARY 19TH.  There will now be a "staff planning day" and thus No School for our K-6th students on Monday, January 18th. School will still be in session for our MNCS High School students on Monday, January 18th. 

Starting on Tuesday January 19th, our MNCS-Elem students will pick back up and be "in school, in-person, Monday through Thursday, with Friday being a distance learning (DL) day... For the most part, at our K-6 grade levels, things will look very similar to how they were up until our shift into distance learning in November." As always, families still have the option to participate in full-time Distance Learning if they choose to do so.
As for our High School students, it is still "too soon for us to provide any new update on our grades 7-12 learning model." In light of that and while all are monitoring Covid case numbers, High School students will continue in their current all Distance Learning model for the time being. We will email update parents of any changes to MNCS plans as soon as we are able.

Thanks as always for your continued support, and for being a part of our MNCS community.

The MNCS Return-to-Learn and Covid Coordinator Teams
covid19@newcountryschool.com

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 12.23.20)

Greetings Again MNCS Families,  

Thank you again for your patience as we continue our journey through this unusual 2020-21 school year. As many of you know, Governor Walz has now asked that we prioritize getting our elementary school children back to in-person school. In accordance with MDE’s recent updates to the MN Safe Learning Plan, our MNCS-Elem students in K-6 will return to our hybrid learning model on Monday, January 18th, 2021. Starting on that date, our elementary students will be in school, in-person, Monday through Thursday, with Friday being a distance learning (DL) day. For the most part, at our K-6 grade levels, things will look very similar to how they were up until our shift into distance learning in November. 

Families will still have the option to participate in Distance Learning if they would like to continue doing so.

At this time it is too soon for us to provide any new update on our grades 7-12 learning model.  The new MN Safe Learning Plan allows us to discount local COVID county case data for K-6 planning, but we still need to take those numbers into account for older students. While we’ve all done a great job of bringing those community case count numbers down from the high levels we saw in November (thanks, everybody!), at this time they are still too high for us to plan a return to hybrid learning for 7-12 students. We will continue to monitor the numbers over break and through early January and will update families of 7-12 students at a later date.

If you have any questions, please send them to us at  covid19@newcountryschool.com -- also please continue using this email to report any positive cases of COVID19 in students. Students with a lab confirmed case of COVID have a 90-day window after testing positive during which they would not have to quarantine if they become a close contact of a positive person, so it is important that we know of positive tests and the dates they tested positive, even if it’s during distance learning or over break. Also another reminder that if you are traveling out-of-state over the holidays, your student will need to quarantine at home for 14-days after you return.

Have a safe and happy holiday break, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the new year!

The MNCS Covid Coordinator Team covid19@newcountryschool.com

MNCS COVID 19: UPDATE (Dated 12.19.20)

Greetings MNCS Families,
As many of you know, on Wednesday, Governor Walz announced several forthcoming changes to the MN Safe Learning Plan initially released last summer. We are currently working with our Regional Support Team to understand what these changes mean, and how they will impact our learning models going forward. We still have a lot of questions about the changes, and will be attending several training sessions with MDE and MDH over the next couple of weeks to help us learn more. Our MNCS plan is to return after winter break in Distance Learning for all K-12 students, as was previously planned. As we find out more about what school will look like going forward, we will send updates on a regular basis.    

 A reminder about out-of-state travel as we head into the holidays and the new year. MNCS is adhering to quarantine guidelines set out by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) which state that “out-of-state travel is highly discouraged, other than crossing the border for work, study, medical care.” In addition, per MDH: “Minnesotans returning after traveling out of state, are asked to stay away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after they arrive in Minnesota. During those 14 days, it is important that you stay home and watch for symptoms.” Students who have traveled out-of-state should not return to MNCS school buildings, childcare, or in-person learning until their 14-day travel quarantine period is up. We ask that you please notify us at  covid19@newcountryschool.com  if your child has been out-of-state for any period of time. Thank you for your help, in keeping our school safe and healthy during this time.

 Please let us know if you have any questions, and have a safe and happy holiday season.

The MNCS Covid Coordinators Team covid19@newcountryschool.com

MNCS Update and Reminder Dated:12.07.20

Greetings MNCS Families, from your Covid-Coordinator Team,

Hopefully all is well with your families as we all work to navigate this unusual holiday season. Thank you for your patience and assistance with the transition to distance learning; we’ll continue to make improvements in our efforts to provide support and educational opportunities for our students as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

We have a couple of quick updates/reminders to share with everybody. 

  1. We’re continuing to monitor local COVID case activity and consult with our MDH Regional Support Team in hopes of returning to hybrid or in-person learning in mid-January. It is too early to say if we will be able to make a switch at that time or not. There are several factors that go into the decision to switch learning models; local case numbers are only a part of that decision. We will keep you posted as we continue to monitor the situation. Please remember that under the state’s safe learning plan, learning model decisions are made at a school level, and what MDH advises for us might not look the same as what happens in other local schools or districts.

  1. We ask that families continue testing students if COVID symptoms arise, or if students are in close contact with positive COVID cases. If a student does test positive for COVID-19 during distance learning, we would appreciate it if families would still notify us via the covid19@newcountryschool.com email address. A confirmed positive test now could impact our quarantine and contact tracing situations when we do make the return to hybrid/in-person learning. We’ve included a list of two free community testing facilities in our region below, plus a link to more community test site info.

That’s all for now. We will continue to keep you updated as we head into the new year. As always, if you have any questions or need to report a positive case, please send it to: covid19@newcountryschool.com 

Thank you again for your support and patience during this difficult time.

The MNCS Covid Coordinators Team 

Find more info on free community testing sites, including these sites nearby:

Hutchinson -- Hutchinson Armory, 1200 Adams St SE

Nasal Swab

Dec 3-4 and 9 and 11-12 and 15-17 and 21-22 and 28-30

12 - 6 p.m.

https://www.primarybio.com/r/hutchinson

Mankato -- Former Gander Mountain, 1940 Adams Street

Saliva

Friday - Tuesday

Weekdays: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Weekends: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

https://mncovidtestingappt.as.me/

MNCS: NEW CHANGES INCLUDING NO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK NOVEMBER 23-24-25 -- Dated 11.18.2020

Dearest MNCS families. We have an important update for our MNCS community. 

The MNCS Covid-Coordinators and MRTL Team met this afternoon. We decided that, due to the rapidly increasing Covid-19 case numbers in the region and our heightened caution for safety in our school, additional changes to our MNCS school schedule must happen.  

Here is the new MNCS going-forward plan:

As educators, we need your help and guidance to prepare our kids and students for these big changes. With tomorrow / Thursday Nov 18th now being the last "in-person" school day for the foreseeable future, please help your child prepare for that. We will do the same. We are already feeling big emotions, missing our students already. Advisors will work to gather materials to go home with kids tomorrow -- we also anticipate a time and / or day next week for families to retrieve belongings from school buildings.

We are disappointed, and we are sad. There's so much more to say, and yet, for tonight, this is all we have to share. Please continue to check emails for further details about plans for extended Distance Learning as we move into that phase on November 30th.

MNCS: Shift into Distance Learning beginning on Wed, December 2nd -- Dated 11.13.20

To our MNCS Families, from your MNCS Return To Learn (MRTL) and Covid-Coordinators Teams:   

As our COVID adventure continues, we have an announcement that will affect our MNCS community. We do all of this planning keeping in mind everyone’s safety, fully considering our students, staff and families. We understand how much this will change our lives for the time being, but this decision was made as a team. Our love and support for our students and families cannot be overstated. 

MINNESOTA NEW COUNTRY SCHOOL (MNCS) WILL BE SHIFTING OUR LEARNING MODEL TO "DISTANCE LEARNING" FOR ALL GRADES K-12 STARTING ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2ND AND GOING THROUGH FRIDAY, JANUARY 15TH. WE PLAN TO RETURN TO HYBRID LEARNING ON MONDAY, JANUARY 18TH IF PUBLIC HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS ALLOW US TO DO SO. This decision was made in light of the substantial, uncontrolled transmission of Covid-19 and an increase in case counts occurring at our county, regional, and state level. We also took into consideration increased exposure over the upcoming holiday season.

Important MNCS schedule and date changes of note:

  • Monday, Nov 16th through Friday, Nov 20th --- School schedule stays the same; school in session for K-12 as usual. 

  • Monday, Nov 23rd through Wednesday, Nov 25th --- School schedule stays the same; school in session for K-12 as usual, with Early Release Day as scheduled for Wed, Nov 25th.

  • Thursday, Nov 26th through Sunday, Nov 29th --- No school for K-12 for Thanksgiving Break.

  • Monday, Nov 30th and Tuesday, Dec 1st --- CHANGE No school for K-12; planning days for staff.

  • Wednesday, December 2nd through Friday, January 15th --- CHANGE All grades K-12 move into Distance Learning.

  • Monday, January 18th --- Plan for K-12 to return to "hybrid learning" if public health recommendations allow.

Moving into this plan, we wish the MNCS community safety and well-being as we move further into the 2020-21 school year. Know that we are partners in your child’s education no matter what learning model we find ourselves in. As our staff continues to make new plans, outreach efforts, and communications during this upcoming distance learning period, please continue to check your email for new updates. Questions can be directed to  covid19@newcountryschool.com  and thank you, as always, for your continued support. We’ll get through this, together.

Sincerely,

The MNCS Return To Learn Team (MRTL) and Covid-Coordinators Team

covid19@newcountryschool.com

Families who have questions about “School-Aged Care for Eligible Children of Tier 1 Essential Workers” please refer to the information at the very bottom of this email, along with the corresponding guidelines found in the attached 2020-21 Planning Guidance for Minnesota Public Schools. Excerpts from this document related to school-aged care include:

** Executive Order 20-94 indicates that a school district or charter school that operates a hybrid or distance learning model “must provide school-aged care for Eligible Children at no cost during the time those children are not receiving instruction in the school building during regular school hours.”

** This school-age care must be provided for district or school-enrolled school-age children age 12 and under who are children of Tier I critical workers. Children of Tier I workers only will be cared for at no cost during the typical school hours. As was required in the spring, school districts and charter schools must provide transportation for students participating in school-age care for children of critical workers, in accordance with their local student transportation requirements.

** If it is a two-parent household and one is not a critical worker, a school is not required to provide free school- age care to the family, but the school could choose to provide the care, if they have the capacity to do so while ensuring health and safety requirements can still be met.

** Tier I industries (see Appendix A of Planning Guidance for definitions of each industry):  

  •  Healthcare and public health

  •  Law enforcement, public safety and first responders

  •  Food and agriculture

  •  Judicial Branch (essential services)

  •  National Guard (activated under a Governor Executive Order)

  •  Educators in pre-K through grade 12 settings

  •  School staff providing instruction or caring for children of critical workers

  •  Child care and school-age care providers

** [UPDATED 11/05/20]: The school-age care for children of critical workers is intended for extreme circumstances in which no parent or guardian is at home, as all of the parents or legal guardians in the child’s household are Tier I critical workers. School districts and charter schools may also encourage parents or legal guardians of Eligible Children to not utilize the school-age care program if they have the ability to work from home.

** Schools are not required to provide this care during previously scheduled breaks reflected on a school-board approved calendar. Similarly, schools are not required to provide this care on snow days.

MDEducation School Year Planning Guide 11.6.20

MNCS school update this Friday (Nov 13th) -- Dated 11.11.20

Dear MNCS Families and Staff,

As you watch the Covid case rates in our surrounding communities increase, and hear of schools changing their learning models, you are probably wondering what MNCS is planning to do. 

On Thursday, November 12th, the MNCS Covid-Coordinators and MNCS Return-To-Learn (MRTL) Teams will meet to review data and recommendations from the MN Dept of Health (MDH) and our Regional Support Team.

On Friday, November 13th, we will then share an update with all of our MNCS families and staff -- please continue to check your email for these important announcements.

As always, we are grateful for your continued patience and flexibility as we all navigate, together, through this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

The MNCS Covid-Coordinator Team

covid19@newcountryschool.com

Staffing our (K-6th) classrooms & potential staffing shortages -- Dated 11.10.20

Dear K-6th families, friends, parents: 

This letter today is targeted to our K-6th families, as we navigate our MNCS-Elem school staffing situation in the midst of this pandemic. MNCS is a "small" school, meaning our numbers of students and also our numbers of staff members are small. Currently our K-6th students are spread out physically across two "campuses" and our dedicated staff is covering twice as much ground and space, with the same number of staffers that we've had in (non-pandemic) years past.

We share this today because, as we head into the cold-and-flu season, with its usual increase in illnesses and school absences, and also with Covid-19 case numbers increasing in our surrounding communities, we feel it's important for our MNCS families to plan ahead and to understand: 

1) If multiple MNCS-Elem staff are out sick, or home with a sick child, or out for an extended period of time, your child's grade or classroom may have to "cancel in-building classes" due to lack of adequate staffing, meaning your child's class would "switch to distance-learning at-home" effective immediately;

2) This may happen quickly and without much notice; 

3) Because of this, please prepare and have your "family plan" in place should your child's class need to make a quick switch from in-person to distance-learning, for a short or for a longer period of time. 

As always, we are grateful for your continued patience and flexibility as we all navigate, together, through this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

The MNCS Covid-Coordinator Team

covid19@newcountryschool.com

Face coverings & masking-up is a must -- Dated 11.2.20

Dear MNCS families,

Your MNCS Covid-Coordinators Team sends sincere thanks to everyone in our school community, for standing together during these first two months of school. The new stressors this fall have been off-set by the incredible support we have seen and felt from our dedicated MNCS staff members, and from our students and their families. Navigating what's next feels do-able when our teams and our people continue to look out for one another. We are learning, together, in all kinds of new ways. Thank you for your trust as we move along and move ahead into the rest of the school year.

Now, an important request for your help. Our commitment is to stick tight to the safety and health guidelines we've worked hard to develop, and to continue to work hard enforcing these safety guidelines, in our school buildings and shared spaces.The current MNCS learning model -- "hybrid" at both our elem and secondary grade sites -- has been working well. In order for our hybrid model to be as safe as possible, we are enlisting even more back-up and support from MNCS parents around our face-covering requirements. Most specifically, at our 4-5-6 and 7th-thru-12th-grades, there are some students receiving multiple reminders a day from staff to "put your mask on" while indoors, and on "over your mouth and nose" as is required. Inconsistent face covering jeopardizes all of us at MNCS. 

If a student receives numerous reminders in one day, about properly "masking up" while at school, the Covid-Coordinators Team will be phone-calling parents and sending that student home for the rest of that day. Please speak candidly with your child about this important MNCS school safety measure -- we ask parents to please back us up in our "mask up" messaging. 

The Covid-Coordinators are here to support our staff, you, your child, and all of our students. We appreciate -- and need -- your continued support for face coverings in order to keep our school safe and our buildings open for students. As always, email us at  covid19@newcountryschool.com  with any covid- or masking-related questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

The MNCS Covid Coordinators Team

covid19@newcountryschool.com

MNCS COVID RESPONSE LATEST UPDATES & REMINDERS --- POSTED ON SEPT 22, 2020

Greetings Parents and Guardians, from the MNCS Covid-Coordinators Team,

Despite the unusual circumstances, our school year is off to a good start. While our current hybrid model is not the ideal way we’d like to be learning and working as a community, it is going as well as can be expected given the nature of the current situation. We’ve been making some subtle tweaks and changes to our plans as we move along, and we appreciate the input, questions, and concerns you keep bringing to our attention as we figure this thing out.

As most of you know, our current learning model is dictated in a large way by positive COVID case counts in our counties. We’ve been carefully watching the numbers as MDH updates them weekly, and are aware that there have been some concerningly high numbers in a few of the counties we serve. After consulting with our Regional MDH Support Team, the consensus is that these high numbers are likely to be a short term situation, and that we are able to continue working in our current model unless the numbers remain high for a longer period of time.

Part of the reason we are able to continue in Hybrid / Scenario 3 of our MNCS Return to Learn (MRTL) plan for the foreseeable future is the work that students, staff, and families are doing to stick with the Safe Learning Plan (MDE) guidelines that drive it. Our Regional Support Team is happy with the plans we’ve implemented and feels we’re taking proper steps to create a safe learning model, which factors into the decision making process in determining whether we change models or stay the course.

We’d like to take a moment to remind everyone of a few important things we all need to do in order for us to keep in-person learning an option at our school: 

1. Please continue reinforcing masking and distancing habits with your students -- help them to remember to “mask up and mind your bubble”. 

2. Encourage regular hand-washing, hygiene, other healthy habits and choices -- such as healthy eating, plenty of sleep, and paying close attention to changes in mental health and wellness. 

3. Remember to pre-screen your students daily before they come to school -- please refer to the attached “COVID-19 Attendance Guide” and “Home Screening Guide” for details.

4. If your student develops symptoms, or tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know by contacting your student’s classroom advisor and emailing us at:  covid19@newcountryschool.com

5. If you have any questions about whether or not to keep a student home, questions about close contacts, symptom screenings etc, please reach out to us at  covid19@newcountryschool.com  and we will respond as quickly as we can.

6. Visit our MNCS “COVID-19 Response” webpage as another place to stay up-to-date, find links, resources, documents at:  https://www.newcountryschool.com/page/covid-19 

Sincerely, 

The MNCS Covid-Coordinators Team
covid19@newcountryschool.com

"Scenario #3" (Hybrid) Learning Model for start of school year on August 31st **posted on 8.18.20**

Hello to all families, from your MNCS COVID Coordinators.

Based on the most recent county case data in the multiple counties in which MNCS students reside, we will be starting the school year on August 31st in "Scenario 3" aka Hybrid. Please refer to the MRTL Scenario Matrix for details about Scenario #3 / Hybrid at MNCS. 

Expect additional MNCS handbook information related to COVID-19 later this week, which will include more detailed plans and procedures. We are confident that this forthcoming document will answer many of your COVID questions. 

Send any related questions to:  covid19@newcountryschool.com

School website at:  www.newcountryschool.com/covid-19

COVID-19 UPDATE banner

Dated: July 31st, 2020

Posted Friday, July 31st

MNCS: School Year Planning 2020-21

Dear MNCS families,

On July 30th, Governor Walz released the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan for this school year. With our community and the safety of all in mind, MNCS is reviewing the plan’s guidelines and its “localized, data-driven approach”. The decision to return to in-person learning is complicated, and the safety and health of our students and staff is our first priority.  

Minnesota schools will be able to move forward into the distance learning, hybrid learning, or full in-person learning model based on local factors. The largest factor is the level of COVID-19 activity in the counties served by the school district. MNCS draws students from 24 communities, across 9 counties (see graphic below) and we will need to consider all counties in our decision-making process. We will coordinate with county and state departments of health as we determine the safest and most appropriate learning model for our school community. Considerations will include:

  • The number of positive COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents in each county

  • The number of students attending MNCS from each county

  • Overall activity trends (growing or shrinking number of cases over the most recent 14-day period)

MNCS students, by county

It is likely that the MNCS learning model may change over the course of the school year, as current health and local COVID-19 data changes. A reminder that full-time distance learning will be an option for any MNCS family, regardless of the learning model in place at any given time. 

By Thursday of next week, we will share more detailed communication outlining our MNCS learning delivery models for different scenarios, grade levels, etc. If you have specific questions related to school reopening and our COVID-19 response, please email: covid19@newcountryschool.com 

Sincerely,

The Staff of Minnesota New Country School