ST. PAUL -- There has been a lot of news about cancellations and suspensions of sporting events, concerts, and other activities.  Most college campuses across the state are also transitioning to online classes as well.

However, one group that the Minnesota Department of Health is not recommending close is our state's K through 12 schools.  In a Facebook post on Thursday, the MDH stated that none of the coronavirus cases in Minnesota so far are in school-aged children, and globally children are not one of the groups most affected.

The MDH goes on to say, closing schools can have serious impacts, such as children not being able to get necessary nutrition, and there is a ripple effect when parents have to miss work or find child care.

We are working with our partners at the Minnesota Department of Education to get more specific recommendations out to schools.

Meanwhile, Superintendents from St. Cloud Area School District, Sartell-St. Stephen School District and Sauk Rapids-Rice School District have agreed upon shared school operations protocols effective immediately.

The following protocols will be in place in all three districts until further notice:

  • For the safety of students, staff and community, only district personnel (those on payroll and contracted partners) are permitted inside district schools. Visitors and volunteers will not be admitted to schools at this time.
  • Beginning and end of day routines allowing families into the school to drop off or pick up students will remain the same, but other family visits during the school day will be limited to scheduled school business.
  • Public health officials have advised limiting large gatherings of people. In response, all school-sponsored public and family events and activities will be cancelled until further notice.  Middle and high school practices for activities and athletics, however, are considered an extension of the school day and will continue as scheduled.
  • All field trips and school sponsored travel will be suspended.
  • Community education classes will be cancelled, and fees will be refunded when applicable.
  • Use of district facilities by external organizations and community groups will be limited to practices only.
  • Students who have been exposed to a diagnosed case of COVID-19 must communicate with School Administration prior to returning to school.
  • Students who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have a household member who is diagnosed with COVID-19 should not report to school and must notify the school office of the student’s condition.
  • Parents must notify the school office if their student is not in attendance as a precautionary action related to COVID-19.
  • Staff members who have been exposed to a diagnosed case of COVID-19 must notify Human Resources prior to returning to work.
  • Staff members who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have a household member who is diagnosed with COVID-19 should not report to work and must notify the Human Resources Office of their status.
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