Dear Northfield School District Families,
Thank you for your patience as we worked to understand how the details of the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the subsequent repeal of the Minnesota mask mandate affect our schools.
Safe Learning Plan Remains in Effect
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has sent a clear directive: the Safe Learning Plan will remain in effect until the end of this school year for all Minnesota public schools. We received this communication from MDE:
“Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus.”
Here is what that means:
- Everyone will wear face masks inside school buildings or on a school bus (this includes buses to and from extracurricular activities.)
- Face masks are not required for anyone outside on school grounds. The exception to this outdoor rule is an event where there are at least 500 people.
The “why” behind this requirement from MDE and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is that most students in school are not vaccinated and masking will help us finish this school year in as safe a manner as practicable.
I understand there will be different perspectives on this issue. However, all year, we have pledged to follow the MDH and MDE directives. We will continue to do so.
Also, all of our COVID-19 procedures remain in effect until the end of the school year. We will continue to complete contact tracing and follow the quarantine protocols for those who are a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. We will also continue to limit visitors and volunteers inside of buildings during the school day.
The district is adopting the option for shortened quarantine of seven days for the rest of the school year based on the public health situation’s improvement. Those who do not qualify for the seven-day quarantine (information in the link below) can return after the standard ten-day quarantine period.
Yesterday’s CDC and the subsequent changes at the state level are cause for celebration. We can see the end of the pandemic is closer than ever. However, we must continue to follow public health guidance and protocols to further limit transmission.
Vaccinations: resources and Sunday night webinar
Vaccination is the best tool we have available to defeat COVID-19. Vaccination is a personal choice. The district respects individual family decisions about whether or not to get vaccinated. The district intends to help connect those families who want vaccination with opportunities in our area. We have created this resource to help parents connect with vaccination opportunities:
This Sunday, May 16 at 7:00 pm, the district will host a webinar for families to learn more about vaccination. Northfield Hospital+Clinics pediatrician Dr. Ben Flannery and Allina Clinic’s Dr. Kyle Hoffert will share information and dispel misinformation about vaccines.
Congratulations to Nancy Antoine, Anita Aase, and Dr. Joel Leer
I am proud to share several awards and honors earned by our school administrators:
- The Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association has selected Bridgewater Elementary School principal Nancy Antoine for the 2021 National Distinguished Principal Award. Congratulations, Mrs. Antoine!
- Congratulations to Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and Board of Education Anita Aase for being selected as the Minnesota Superintendents’ Office Personnel Association 2021 Administrative Assistant of the Year.
- Congratulations to Northfield High School principal Dr. Joel Leer on earning his doctoral degree this week from the University of Minnesota.
Thank you for your continued understanding, patience, and forgiveness as we navigate this unwieldy school year. I am proud of the work we have done together during this historic global health emergency. I understand that it has been difficult but I am confident that better days are ahead. I continue to wish for your family’s good health and safety. Have a good weekend!
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools