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March 12 Superintendent's Update on COVID-19

March 12, 2020 Borg Report

Dear Westonka Families,

As you are likely aware, Minnesota had its first presumptive positive case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last week in Ramsey County, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has announced more cases in the state since that time. Westonka Public Schools is monitoring the situation closely and is watching for any update in guidance from MDH, local health agencies or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). At this time, the guidance and protocols have not changed and Westonka will continue to operate school normally.

MAINTAINING HEALTHY LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
I have been impressed by our district’s collective efforts to maintain healthy learning/working environments. Westonka has a strong history of pulling together and showing great effort and professionalism when faced with challenges. The response to COVID-19 is no exception.

  • Our schools are actively promoting the everyday habits of practicing good hand hygiene, covering coughs/sneezes and staying home when sick. 
  • Our school nurses continue to follow public health recommendations for assessing students who are ill.
  • Our custodial and transportation staff are preparing and increasing the frequency of cleaning in critical areas, and we are working to ensure they have effective products and adequate supplies.

SCHOOL CLOSURES AND ELEARNING PLAN
In recent days, we have seen news of some colleges and universities canceling classes and/or moving to online learning. Decisions about the implementation of community mitigation measures, including temporary school closures, would be made by state and local public health officials based on CDC guidance. 

Westonka district administrators are scaling our current K-12 eLearning Plan, which was designed for weather-related closures, to accommodate a multi-day school closure should one be recommended by MDH in the future. We highly recommend that families come up with their own household plan in the event state health officials direct Westonka to close school. If MDH calls for changes to our normal school operations, you should expect both district and school communication regarding the continuation of your child’s education.

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL
If you are traveling for spring break, we ask you to consider the following:

  • Know that situations and conditions surrounding COVID-19 are dynamic and could change while you are traveling, which may complicate your return. Review the latest information for travelers from the CDC
  • The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with Level 3 warnings—currently, China, Iran, South Korea and most of Europe. Travelers returning from Level 3 countries will be asked by state health officials to self-quarantine for 14 days (no school or work) upon their return. Westonka respectfully asks families to follow current state and federal travel guidelines and self-report to schools any restrictions so that we may work with you on next steps.
  • While traveling, take steps to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus by practicing good hygiene.
  • If your child is sick with fever and/or flu-like symptoms, please do not send them to school. Contact your health care provider for guidance.

WHERE TO FIND UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION
Please rely on updates posted to the Minnesota Department of Health website or the CDC website for the most accurate and timely information on the virus. You can also call the MDH COVID-19 Hotline at (651) 201-3920.

We have also created a page on the district website to house school updates related to COVID-19: https://www.westonka.k12.mn.us/covid19

Thank you for your support and understanding as we work through this situation together. We will continue to do our very best to make good decisions for Westonka students and staff.

Sincerely,

Kevin

Kevin Borg, Superintendent
borgk@westonka.k12.mn.us
(952) 491-8001