Dear Northfield School District Families:
Once again, we are faced with a severe challenge related to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. The recent surge in cases related to the Omicron variant has created the highest amount of positive cases our school district has experienced since the start of the pandemic. We share data about current cases and other health-related indicators on our COVID-19 dashboard.
Current COVID-19 situation: We remain committed to prioritizing uninterrupted in-person learning as long as we can staff our schools.
- We have many more tools to fight COVID-19 now than we did a few months ago. We have ample access to vaccines for students five (5) years and older and boosters for staff members. Our district has a robust testing program that includes molecular (PCR-level) Cue tests and an inventory of approximately 10,000 rapid antigen test kits. We also had 37,000 KN95 masks delivered earlier this week and are making them available for staff and students who want them. Your student can get a KN95 in their school office.
- We use a cascading approach to cover staffing. This strategy involves using our regular substitute pool, assigning our three full-time substitutes, reassigning district office instructional services staff to substitute teach, and reassigning teachers who typically work with small groups of students to general education classrooms. These are grueling times for our staff who are demonstrating an unbelievable commitment to public service. Please take time to thank the staff at your student’s school.
- We have changed the way we report general COVID-19 exposures when your student has a classmate who tests positive for the coronavirus. You can view a daily update of classrooms where exposures occurred at the COVID-19 updates page. Students considered close contacts will continue to be individually notified.
Changes in protocols: As indicated earlier this week, the district is changing its protocols to align with the latest Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and CDC guidance around quarantine. There are significant changes to the quarantine protocols.
Please note that face coverings are now required for spectators at Minnesota State High School League-sponsored events in Northfield. This includes all district facilities and at school events held at the Northfield Ice Arena and the Northfield Gymnastics Club. You can view the MSHSL protocol addendum here.
No School on Monday: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
We do not have school on Monday, Jan. 17, to observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. I invite you to reflect on the tremendous contributions that Dr. King made to American society. The City of Northfield is hosting its annual celebration of Dr. King’s life on Monday night at 7 pm in a virtual event. You can see more details about this event here.
The Northfield School District is committed to preparing every student for lifelong success. That includes ensuring our schools are anti-racist learning environments where all children have equitable access to educational resources that truly allow them to realize their full potential and pursue the American Dream. Dr. King’s birthday is an opportunity to reflect on our progress toward that vision.
School Finance 101 Webinar: save the date
The Northfield School District will be holding a budget prioritization process over the next several months. To help families understand how school finance works in Minnesota, the district will be hosting a School Finance 101 webinar on Jan. 25, 2022, at 6:30 pm. Watch for the link to this webinar in a future communication.
As always, I am grateful for your support and partnership. This pandemic will end — we don’t know when — but it will. When we look back at how we conducted ourselves during this period, I want us to be proud of how we addressed the crisis and how we treated our friends and neighbors. So far, we are on track to achieve just that. Thank you for your efforts to hold our community together during this difficult time.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools