Dear Northfield School District Families,
I hope this message finds you and your family well. Overall, we have had a good start to the school year and your partnership has been critical in that start. Once again, our goal is to prioritize uninterrupted in-person learning to the best of our ability.
As we begin the year, the need for COVID-19 testing has increased. For students with symptoms, a negative PCR test, a negative molecular test, or an alternative diagnosis from a physician is required before they return to school. A few vital items related to testing for COVID-19:
- At this time, the district can only accept a PCR or molecular test for students to return after showing one more common or two less common symptoms as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Health decision tree. The district cannot accept antigen tests at this time. PCR tests are available in Northfield at Walgreens, Northfield Hospital+Clinics, and Allina Clinic. You can use this state resource to locate a PCR or molecular testing center outside of Northfield.
- The district has an inventory of Vault saliva tests (PCR) that can be used by students as needed. You can request a test through your school office until our supplies are exhausted. We are working to obtain more COVID-19 tests from the state.
- The district is working with MDH to secure more tests and considering other testing options available to families through our school district.
Due to universal masking, the district is requiring quarantine for far fewer students due to close contact at school with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 compared to last year. However, in other ways, the process for quarantining is more complicated.
Students or staff with a member of their household who has tested positive for COVID-19 must follow the Recommended COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs to determine if the individual needs quarantine.
Students or staff displaying at least one common symptom or two less common symptoms will follow the Recommended COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs.
At school, a person is considered a “close contact” if they have been within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 or more minutes over 24-hours. Quarantine for close contact at school with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not required when both parties were wearing a face mask, or if the close contact has been vaccinated, or if the close contact had a laboratory-positive COVID-19 test within the 90 days preceding the exposure.
The district understands that any quarantine is difficult for families. Quarantine of people exposed to a positive COVID-19 case is a tool we use to mitigate virus spread. We are working on strategies to further reduce quarantines while also maintaining as safe a learning environment as practicable.
Bright Spot: Students Support New Prague’s #MasonStrong Event
Northfield High School students heard about New Prague’s event during the Raiders/Trojans football game to support a student there who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Our students who traveled to the game joined in supporting Mason Decker by wearing green. You can learn more about this bright spot here.
Strategic Planning Reminder
I want to remind you about our strategic planning process that is underway. Refer to the dates in 2021-22 District Family Update No. 2 for more details.
Moving forward together
Throughout the pandemic, I have shared how vital it is to support each other in this difficult time. Recently, some of our school staff — specifically our health office staff — have been on the receiving end of disrespectful comments when they communicate about COVID-19 related issues. COVID-19 fatigue is understandable, but we must maintain decorum. When the pandemic is firmly in our rearview mirror, we want to be proud of how we acted during it. I appreciate your support for our school staff as we continue to work diligently to serve your students and families.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.