Greetings, Northfield Public Schools Families:
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. Your continued support of Northfield Public Schools during this unwieldy school year has been valued and appreciated. Today’s message includes updates about COVID-19 testing (especially for those who traveled during spring break), vaccination for students 16-years-of-age and older, a reminder about returning middle school, high school, and Area Learning Center students to school, and about our third parent/caregiver “pulse” survey.
One of the best tools we have to limit the spread of COVID-19 is testing. COVID-19 testing is now available on-demand. If you traveled for spring break, we strongly recommend you take a COVID-19 test, even if you are asymptomatic. Remember, testing is free in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends all middle and high school students take a COVID-19 test every two weeks. They also recommend student-athletes test weekly. If you are in a situation where you need a test and cannot get to one of the locations listed at the link above, contact your school office. The district has a small inventory of tests available for situations where someone cannot get to a testing site or get the at-home testing kit.
Vaccinations for people 16-years-of-age and older
Today, Governor Walz announced expanding the state’s vaccination program to people 16-years-of-age and older beginning March 30. This expansion means many high school students will be eligible for vaccination. Vaccination is another critical tool to help end the pandemic.
Once the window is open, I encourage you to seek a local vaccination option and look beyond Northfield for vaccination opportunities. I have spoken with many people who were able to access vaccinated through pharmacies in smaller communities. Please keep that in mind as you seek a vaccination appointment.
Return to full-time in-person learning for middle school, high school, and ALC students
As shared in updates No. 28, 29, 30, and 31, we are preparing to return middle school, high school, and ALC students to in-person learning five days per week, beginning on March 31. You can review the timeline here.
We continue to closely monitor the public health situation, especially related to the COVID-19 variants that have brought an uptick in cases in Minnesota.
Pulse survey update
Thank you to those who submitted 478 responses to our third parent/caregiver pulse survey. We received the results this week and are reviewing them carefully. While we fell well short of our participation goal, the data will help us continue adjusting our approaches to serve our families best. I will share the results in a future communication.
I end all of these messages with a heartfelt note of gratitude. This past year has challenged our community in ways we could not have imagined before we had heard of “COVID-19.” Yet, we will continue to persevere through these historic circumstances and emerge better than before. I am sincerely grateful for how our community has responded to the adversity that the pandemic has created. I have said many times that when this is all over, we want to look ourselves in the mirror and be confident that we did the best we could given the situation. Anyone can show respect and kindness when things are going well. A true measure of our humanity is how we conduct ourselves when life is tough. I have been proud of how we have treated each other so far. There is an end to the pandemic on the horizon, but there are still hurdles ahead of us. Let’s continue to be good to one another. We will be better for it in the end. Have a great weekend.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools