Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions
HCPA has taken several steps to prepare for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students and staff:
Assigned a School Nurse to oversee our district’s COVID-19 response and coordinate directly with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)
Maintained contact with MDH partners who provide timely guidance on any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases
Participated in Regional Support Teams in collaboration with MDH and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to ensure that our school’s plans align with safety guidelines.
Potential school closures would be determined by the number of suspected and confirmed cases at school and together with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) who makes those determinations
HCPA will follow all privacy guidelines established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The district will notify parents and relevant staff of a positive case as soon as possible, following guidancefromtheMinnesotaDepartmentofHealth. ThereisadelayingettingCOVID-19testresults ranging from a few hours to days, however we will begin working with MDH as soon as any case is suspected and will follow their protocols for communication. Families can help us work more quickly by reporting positive test results to their health office.
If a student is showing symptoms of respiratory illness at school, the health office will isolate the student until he or she can be picked up by a caregiver. At the same time, our licensed school nurse willimmediatelybeginconsultationwiththeMinnesotaDepartmentofHealth(MDH). MDHwill provide recommendations for testing and next steps.
If one of our students or staff members tests positive for COVID-19, our school health office and district leadership will immediately work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to determine next steps. MDH will investigate the circumstances of the case and recommend next steps for the school and for any close contacts of the person who tested positive. If it is determined that students and staff within the school were exposed, the recommendation from MDH could include quarantine of close contacts or closing an entire classroom, grade-level or school.
- We will communicate via email to all parents and staff members within a school as soon as possible after receiving confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case among our students or staff (suspected cases will not be communicated until confirmed). We will communicate this information each time we have a new case. We will not communicate about cases where the individual who tested positive was not within our school building during the time they were contagious.
- Students and/or staff who have had close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted individually with specific instructions about whether or not they need to quarantine or be tested.
- The identities of students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 will never be released, as this would violate HIPAA and FERPA rights to privacy.
- If the Department of Health determines that a classroom, grade level or school should be temporarily closed for quarantine purposes, we will notify parents of those students immediately.
Every day during school, students and staff should monitor for symptoms, including going to the Nurse’s office if they are feeling sick while at school/at work.
All students, staff, and other people present in school buildings and district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles are required to wear a face covering.
Families will be asked to screen their child at home for symptoms of illness, and keep them home from school if they have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Parents will be given a decision guide with clear directions on when to send their students to school and when to keep them home.
On the bus
Elementary school buses will operate based on appropriate safety guidelines provided by the state of Minnesota, and families may choose to drive their own child to school or carpool.
When necessary, busses will operate at 50% capacity, further reduced by students who have chosen distance learning and students who get a ride/drive to school.
All buses will promote as much distance as possible between students and will sanitize bus seats and surfaces between each route.
Buses will be disinfected after each route, using safe and effective products. Windows will remain open between and after routes to circulate fresh air through the bus.
Breakfast will be grab-and-go and will either be consumed in the cafeteria or in the classrooms, depending on which option provides the most opportunity for physical distancing.
In the classroom
Classroom desks and tables will be spaced as far apart as possible and arranged so they are all facing the same direction. Desks and tables will be sanitized at the end of each day, and more often as feasible. Elementary and secondary class sizes will be reduced by the number of students electing the distance learning
Students will use their own school supplies and will not be sharing with other students.
Lunch will be grab-and-go and will be consumed in the classroom, or in the cafeteria if that space is available and adequate physical distancing can be maintained.
At recess and playground
Elementary students will have recess each day providing time for physical activity and an opportunity for students to remove face coverings. Students will be guided to remain with their classmates during recess, minimizing contact with other students. Students will wash hands before and after using playground equipment.
In the hallways, bathroom and common areas
Physical distancing will be maintained as much as possible whil e students are moving throughout the building. A limited number of students will be allowed in the bathroom at one time.
Students will wash hands before and after classes like PE and media, where books and other shared items may be used. Music classes will be moved to larger spaces where better physical distancing can be maintained.
Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations will be restricted.
Entering and exiting the school
Students will utilize multiple entrances and exits when arriving for school and leaving at the end of the day in order to maximize physical distancing between students.
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you
HCPA students and staff must not come to school/work if they are feeling sick. We ask that students, staff and families take extra precautions during this time.
Self-monitoring = monitoring yourself carefully for any symptoms. Everyone should be doing this throughout the day
Close Contact = being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms for more than 15 minutes at a time
Self-quarantine = you are not experiencing symptoms, but you were in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Self-isolation = you are actively exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and should be at home, preventing the spread of COVID-19 to others
A fever is defined as 100.4° and higher
Lab diagnosed/confirmed = the individual had a lab confirmed positive test for COVID-19
Every day before school, students and staff should screen for symptoms at home, including daily temperature checks. Detailed instructions for screening are linked below.
This guide is based on the Minnesota Department of Health in determining when students or staff members should remain home from school.