11-04-2020 Message to Families

Dear STMA Parents/Guardians:

I hope you and your children are doing well.

The purpose of this email is to address the measures taken into consideration when deciding to shift to a different learning model. I also want to share the STMA Dashboard with you.

SHIFTING LEARNING MODELS: IMPORTANT DATA TO CONSIDER

The data used to inform our decision making in regard to positive COVID-19 cases is directly from the MN Department of Health (MDH).

While there are multiple factors that are used to determine a possible shift in learning models, there are five important pieces of data to consider. These are all aligned to the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-2021.

  1. Wright County 14-Day COVID-19 Case Rate Number. This is a state developed formula that is the total number of cases per 10,000 residents for a 14-day time span. This number comes directly from Wright County Public Health and is communicated each Thursday. Last Thursday this number was 32.77. It is important to note that the 14-day case rate number was used in August as a “starting point” to determine a base learning model but now is one piece of data schools use to monitor viral activity (see page eight of the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-2021).
  2. STMA Community COVID-19 Case Rate Number. This is determined with the same formula as above, using local data from St. Michael and Albertville. This number comes directly from Wright County Public Health and is communicated to me each Thursday. Last Thursday, this number was 54.73.
  3. School COVID-19 Positive COVID-19 Cases. The number of positive COVID-19 cases comes directly from MDH. Our COVID-19 Health Coordinator Lindy Legatt receives the information from MDH, conducts contact tracing, and then adds the information to a Google spreadsheet. I use the spreadsheet to report positive cases via the STMA Dashboard. The number of positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff is relatively low. Since September 8, 2020, we have had 42 students and 20 staff members test positive. The percentages of active cases for students is .34% and 1.05% for staff. This is what is keeping us in-person in grades PK-4 and hybrid in grades 5-12. It is also what is allowing us to continue our activities and athletics. 
  4. Student and Staff COVID-19/Influenza-Like Symptoms. Per the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-2021, this is the number of students and school staff who are absent with influenza-like or COVID-19-like illness in a single week. When this number plus the total positive cases in a single week reaches approximately 5%, we may shift to a more restrictive learning model for a short time (i.e. two weeks). The 5% does NOT include those quarantined.
  5. Epidemiology. We consult with local, regional, and state health officials frequently to examine the epidemiology behind school level, community level, and county level data to assess whether case rate increases are likely the result of isolated outbreaks or whether they may be indicative of more widespread transmission. For example, officials attribute the higher community case rates to a number of weddings in the community. It is also important to note that the vast majority of positive cases among students and staff did not originate in our schools.

We will continue to closely monitor the case rate numbers in our schools, district, community, and Wright County. All decisions regarding learning models will be based on data from credible county and state agencies. Likewise, we will continue to collaborate with MDE, MDH, Wright County Public Health, and our Regional COVID-19 Support Team. If and when we need to change to a more restrictive learning model, we will give staff and families as much time as possible to prepare.

STMA DASHBOARD

Please see the STMA COVID-19 Dashboard for the number of COVID-19 cases for our students and staff. The single week data is from the previous week, Monday through Sunday. The STMA Dashboard is updated each Tuesday and can be found on the COVID-19 webpage

REMAIN VIGILANT

We all want to keep our students in school. However, the health and safety of our students and staff remain our highest priority. Please help us keep our students in school by minimizing the spread of illness by taking the following actions:

  • Wear a face covering when outside your home.
  • Maintain at least 6 ft of distance from persons not in your household.
  • Protect yourself and others by washing your hands often with soap and water, cover your cough, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, countertops).
  • If you are sick, stay home.

RESOURCES

We will continue to provide you with additional information as it becomes available. The most up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available on the District’s website. The FAQ on the COVID page is updated regularly.

In closing, I want to reiterate that we need your help. Our students need to be in school and we can’t keep them in school with increasing positive case rates. Please do your part to slow the spread of this virus. Thanks for your continued support, partnership, and vigilance. Take care and be safe.

Respectfully, 

Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault

STMA Superintendent