Incident Reponse Team (IRT) Updates
Here you will find important and relevant information regularly shared with the TCGIS community by the IRT.
Potential for Entire Class Quarantines
As we work hard to keep our community as safe as possible by following all the mitigations suggested by the Minnesota Department of Health, we anticipate entire classrooms needing to quarantine. If there is a positive Covid-19 case in an in person classroom, the entire class will enter quarantine and distance learning for 14 days. Our Director of Operations/HR and Health Services Associate will continue to closely track any lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 cases in our building and will partner with MDH in closely monitoring our school.
Regular COVID-19 testing for returning students recommended by MDH
To help prevent classroom quarantines, we offer optional on-site COVID testing for TCGIS staff every 2 weeks. We strongly encourage families to proactively test children for COVID before learning onsite, and periodically after that, even when symptom-free.
It has never been easier to get tested. Testing is provided at no cost to you.
If your student is learning onsite, please remember to check them for Covid-19 symptoms before sending them to school. Please keep your student home if they are sick. You can refer to the decision tree from MDH for details of how the school will respond to close contacts or individuals with symptoms.
Check for the following symptoms every morning:
The IRT would also like to take this opportunity to underscore the role of privacy in all conversations regarding COVID. Please remember employers are not allowed to divulge personal health information and details. Holding the balance between individual privacy rights and transparency with regard to community communication presents an on-going challenge. We are thankful for the patience and understanding shown by our community members with regard to this matter.
Updates: Feb. 18, 2021
NO distance learning/quarantine week following Spring Break; MDH and CDC strongly recommend against traveling
Given the high level of COVID-19 spread in many parts of our nation, any unnecessary travel is highly discouraged by MDH and the CDC.
If you choose to travel, your family will be expected to follow the CDC recommendations of testing and quarantining for 7 days if your test is negative. The CDC recommends testing 3-5 days after travel to limit the chance of a false negative. If a family member’s test comes back positive, you will be expected to follow the isolation guidelines in the decision tree. Please also note, our teachers will not be expected to provide additional work or asynchronous work during your recommended quarantine period. Your students absence will be considered excused.
For more tips and things to consider when traveling, see CDC: Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Updates: Feb. 11, 2021
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Last week we shared relevant information from the MDH and CDC, and this week we share information from the ECDC. The infographic is based on the ECDC technical report on COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in COVID-19 transmission. A takeaway from the report was that school outbreaks have not been a prominent feature in the COVID-19 pandemic. Transmission in the school setting appears to be affected by the levels of community transmission. Where epidemiological investigation has occurred, transmission in schools has accounted for a minority of all COVID-19 cases in a given country. Another key message was that there is a general consensus that the decision to close schools to control the COVID-19 pandemic should be used as a last resort. The negative physical, mental health and educational impact of proactive school closures on children, as well as the economic impact on society more broadly, would likely outweigh the benefits.
Updates: Feb. 4, 2021
Vaccine Roll out to TCGIS Staff
To date, 38% of TCGIS staff have received their 1st dose of vaccine. This week, Minnesota implemented a new process to contact educators and school staff directly when more vaccines become available. The school is no longer required to prioritize weekly vaccine allocations. Please continue advocating for educators and school staff to quickly receive vaccines by participating in the TCGIS Board’s letter writing campaign to Governor Walz
MN Department of Health & CDC Guidance
TCGIS IRT members attend weekly briefings with the Minnesota Department of Health. The IRT is committed to sharing information with the TCGIS community as it becomes available. This week, a summary of a study on COVID cases and transmission in schools in Wisconsin was presented by MDH. This study described that among 17 rural Wisconsin schools, reported student mask-wearing was high, and the COVID-19 incidence among students and staff members was 37% lower than in the county overall (3,453 versus 5,466 per 100,000). Among 191 cases identified in students and staff members, only seven (3.7%) cases, all among students, were linked to in-school spread. No spread is known to have occurred to or from staff in school despite some times with high community spread. During the study period, positive test rates in the community ranged from 7%-40%. For comparison, the current MN statewide positivity rate is 7.1%. MDH reiterated the importance of mitigation efforts in schools, which TCGIS is fully committed to maintain and monitor. Here is a link to the study.
Incident Reponse Team (IRT) Members
Julie Alkatout, Board Chair
Ted Anderson, Executive Director
Ashley Weston Miller, Director of Operations and HR
Monika Avery, Health Services Associate
This infographic comes from the European Centres for Disease Control. Click on the image to view in more detail.