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March 2020 has changed all of our lives forever.  We are now in a "new normal".  The safety and health of our students and staff continues to be of the upmost importance for us.  This school year will look like no other start to the school year thus far.  Many changes and improvements have been made since this past spring.  Please reach out to me if you have any questions related to COVID-19.

Lewiston-Altura School District COVID-19 Dashboard

We are asking every parent to conduct a "Daily Home Screening" for your child(ren). 
Daily checklist for at home (Must complete daily BEFORE sending to school)
COVID-19 Symptoms
COVID-19 Symptoms-espanol

If your child has ANY of the symptoms listed, please keep them home for the day.  When you call in your child's absence, please let us know the symptoms they are staying home with.  If symptoms are mild, they will still be expected to participate in distance learning for that day.

Your child's temperature will also be taken upon entry into the school building.  If they have a fever of 100.0 or greater, they will be sent back home.  If they develop symptoms of illness during the school day, they may also be sent home.  It is very important that you keep the school notified of any phone number changes and update emergency contact information. Please also have a plan in place for who will be able to come and pick them up as soon as possible.  

If your child has a new onset and/or worsening cough (not related to another known illness), fever of 100.4, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell, they will need to stay home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.  All household contacts will also need to stay home for 14 days.   If your child would have 2 or more of the following symptoms (sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new onset of severe headache, new onset of nasal congestion or runny nose, they will also need to stay home for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms.  All household contacts will also need to stay home for 14 days.  You may choose to have your child tested for COVID-19 and/or see their medical provider.   If they would receive a negative COVID test due to symptoms (not due to being a close contact of a positive case), then all household contacts can return to school.

Attendance Guide for School Families
Attendance Guide-Spanish

Where do I receive COVID Testing?
You can contact your primary provider for further information or visit one of the following sites.

     Test At Home

     Minnesota Department of Health Semi-Permanent Testing Site
MDH Semi-permanent testing site

Winona Health
         Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Persons at Parkview Office Building
          Monday-Saturday 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Gundersen Lutheran
         Symptomatic Persons tested in Urgent Care

Testing for COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19-espanol
Symptoms and Testing

What if a parent or child test positive for COVID-19?

Any person receiving testing must notify myself at ; I will handle all COVID related information for the district.  A positive test result requires that a person be out of school/work for 10 days from the first symptom and at least 24 hours after the end of the fever (without use of medication) AND improvement of symptoms.  All household contacts of a positive case MUST also stay home for 14 days from the date of the positive test.  
When can I return to work if someone living me is sick with COVID-19
What to do if you have COVID19
What to do if you have COVID19-Spanish

What to do if your child feels sick

What to do when your child is considered a close contact

What if a student/staff has symptoms but tests negative?
If a person was tested due to their own symptoms and tests negative, s/he can return to school/work when symptoms have improved and no fever for at least 24 hours.  
If they were tested due to being exposed to someone who has COVID-19, they must complete the 14 day quarantine before returning...regardless of whether they themselves have symptoms and or have tested negative.  A negative test result only means that that person was negative on the date of testing.  The incubation period for COVID-19 is 2-14 days.  If a person tests negative on day 7 of symptoms, that does not mean they won't tests positive on day 14.  We need to prevent you from spreading the virus to others.  The exclusion guidelines will be the same for the person with symptoms and all household contacts as above.

What is a student/staff has symptoms but is diagnosed with a different illness (strep throat, norovirus, etc.) from their medical provider?
If another diagnosis is identified, the the guidelines for that illness will be followed.  Stay home until symptoms improve and exclusion guidelines have been met (generally 24 hours after starting medication and/or 24 hours after symptoms improve).  In this case, household contacts do NOT need to stay home.

What to do while waiting for test results?
It can take several days for results to come back.  The clinic or testing site that administered your test will contact you.  Stay home and isolate from others whether you have symptoms or not.  This includes household contacts.  Again, distance learning can continue. 
 Click here for more information on what to do while waiting for test results  Espanol

What if my child was determined to be a close contact outside of school hours of someone who tested positive?
If you were notified directly from the person who tested positive and/or a contact tracer, your child MUST stay home for 14 days from their last contact with that person.  If your child develops symptoms, s/he should be tested.  Your child will still be expected to participate in distance learning.  You must notify myself as well of this information.  Other household contacts do not need to stay home if they did not have contact with the person who tested positive.
What to do if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19
What to do if you had close contact with someone with COVID19-spanish
While the CDC and MDH have updated their quarantine guidance in certain situations, our school district has decided to continue to abide by the 14 day quarantine period for all persons determined to be a close contact.  While this possible change from CDC and MDH is in response to increasing compliance with quarantine, the science is still clear that the virus takes 2-14 days to appear.  The shortened guidelines also require certain instances to be followed that we can not guarantee in the school setting (ALWAYS wearing a mask-but currently need to remove for eating and drinking, ALWAYS staying 6 feet from others-which can not be enforced during sports, PE, recess, hallways, etc., and monitoring for ALL symptoms on days 11-14).  We also would have a greater risk of needing to quarantine a group of students and staff potentially on days 11-14, if we allowed a close contact to return earlier than the 14 days.  While we greatly appreciate students and staff wanting to return to school as soon as possible, we need to do what is best for our entire population…and that is by keeping close contacts home for the full 14 days.

What if one of my children was determined to be a close contact of a positive case but does not currently have any symptoms?  Does the rest of the household need to stay home?
If your child was determined to be a close contact, follow the above guidelines.  If the other members of your household did NOT have any close contact with that positive case, you may return to school or work.  IF your child that was determined to be a close contact develops symptoms, then everyone needs to stay home. 

What if there is a positive case in school and my child is a close contact?
Close contacts are identified as persons who were within 6 feet of each other for at least 15 minutes.  If there is a positive case at school (staff or student), I will work with Public Health to identify all close contacts.  For the elementary school, this may be an entire classroom.  For the High School, this will determined on a case by case basis.  Close contacts MUST stay home for 14 days from their last contact with the positive case.  Again, distance learning will still be required.  You should continue to monitor for symptoms.  If symptoms develop, testing is recommended.  

To view the detailed Decision Tree-Click Here

Strict confidentiality will be maintained at all times.  Name(s) of positive cases will not be given out to the school community.  

These scenarios will certainly affect in-person attendance at school.  Please be prepared for your child to continue with distance learning during this time period.  

What is the difference between Isolation and Quarantine?
Quarantine is referring to a person who has been in close contact with another person who tested positive.  They do not currently have symptoms, but still need to stay home for 14 days.  
Isolation is referring to a person who has tested positive.  They need to stay home for 10 days and isolate themselves from others in the household.

Quarantine vs Isolation

Make a Plan Now

I encourage you to develop a plan for how you, your family, and caregivers will respond to a potential illness or hospitalization. Having a plan can help reduce stress in the event of an emergency and help everyone transition. Start by having a conversation with everyone involved and use this as a guide.

Facial Covering
All students and staff who enter the buses and buildings will be required to wear a face covering.  We are asking parents to provide face coverings, but the district has provided all students with two L-A face masks.  Disposable masks will be available if your child forgets, but these are not to be used by students on a regular basis.  Cloth face masks are preferred.  Scarves, bandanas, and neck gaiters are also acceptable but do not provide as good of protection.  Wearing a mask keeps you from passing the virus to others.  Some research shows 40-50% of infected persons do not show symptoms, so by everyone wearing a mask we can cut down on unknown transmission.  Masks should be labeled with the students name to avoid mix-up.  It is recommended to keep an extra at school in the event it gets wet or dirty.  The school dress code still applies and all facial covering designs need to be appropriate for the school setting.  If your child has not had to wear a face covering for a long period of time, please start having them wear it around home to get used to it.  A limited amount of LA face masks are now available for purchase at each office.  The red LA masks are $3, and the adjustable black LA masks are $6.

Additional Resources-Click on each link
Here is an article from Children's Hospital with more information.  How to make masks for comfortable for kids
Mask 101
How masks reduce transmission of COVID-19

Why wear a mask when you feel fine
Different Types of Masks

How to Properly Wear a Face Covering
Face Covering

Face coverings MUST cover nose, mouth, and chin.  The covering should not gap anywhere on the face.  The covering should not impair vision.  If the wearer has glasses, specific masks are available with a tighter fit around the nose to prevent fogging.
How to safely wear a mask
Mask Dos and Don't for Students
COVID-19 Masks Dos and Don'ts-espanol

When is it okay to remove facial coverings?
Your child will be allowed to remove their facial covering when: eating, drinking, and when outside/recess.  When putting on/taking off covering, wash or sanitize hands.  Do not touch the front of the mask, only touch the straps, and fold it in half keeping the part that covers your face on the inside.  Your child should have a labeled small paper lunch bag or similar bag for them to put their mask into when not wearing.  When coverings are allowed to be removed, social distancing is a requirement.  If a student refuses to wear a mask, they will be required to participate in distance learning instead. 

How/When to clean facial coverings
Cloth facial coverings should be laundered daily.  This can be done in the washing machine or by hand washing in the sink with soap and water.  

What if I need to sneeze/cough while wearing a mask?
The goal of the mask is to catch all particles released when sneezing/coughing, so masks need to stay on.  You should still also use the "elbow pocket".  If you need to blow your nose, turn away/get away as far as possible from others.  Remove mask and use a tissue.  Sanitize/wash hands and put mask back on.  If the inside of the mask gets wet/dirty, it should be changed ASAP.

Students and staff should wash/sanitize their hands: upon arrival, when loading a bus, before and after eating, before and after using playground equipment, after using restroom, before and after using library/computer/common supplies.
Students will need to bring their own labeled water bottle as water fountains will be disabled.  The water bottle fillers will still be on.  These need to be washed nightly.
How to wash your hands
How to wash your hands-espanol
Cleaning hands with sanitizer
Cleaning hands with sanitizer-espanol

Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned three times daily by custodial staff.  Rooms will also be sanitized daily

K-6 will each lunch and snack in their classrooms.  HS lunch will be limited to 2 persons per table or spread out on the bleachers in the gym, and dismissed by table/group to decrease congestion in line/bathrooms.  No outside treats can be shared with the class.  Please think of non-food related snacks for birthdays.  For classroom parties, students will be required to bring their own food, as there is no sharing.  

This has been a very stressful few months.  Please take time for your family to do things that relieve stress.  Students are affected as well.  If they need further assistance, please do not hesitate to send them to our school counselors.
Tips to maintain mental well-being
Tips and Resources for Parents and Children

How COVID-19 Spreads in the Community

Sports/Physical Activity with Masks
Masks are now required to be worn during indoor PE and Sports Activities.  If you are concerned that this may negatively affect your child...please see the following resources.
Click on this link-Twin Cities Doctor puts masks to the test
Click on this link-American Academy of Pediatrics
Click on this link-Mayo Clinic Tips
Click on this link-National Library of Medicine