As we begin the 2021-2022 school year, we couldn't be more excited to be welcome students and staff back with a plan that is flexible and responsive. By working together, we will have a successful school year!
Last year, families cooperated with us and kept their students home when sick. This will continue to be the expectation this year in order to keep the community safe. Parents will be expected to complete a health screening for their children each morning before sending them to school. Students must stay home if any of the following symptoms are present or two of the less common symptoms (*) are present, regardless of vaccination status:
Temperature over 100.4 degrees
New cough or cough that gets worse
Loss of taste or smell
Shortness of breath
New nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose*
Our K-8 school day will begin at 8 A.M. Students may arrive at their designated drop-off locations as early at 7:50 A.M. Students will be expected to leave the school grounds immediately after school dismissal at 3 P.M. A full arrival and dismissal plan will be sent to families prior to school beginning on Sept. 7.
Vaccines continue to be the most important tool we have against the virus. Families are encouraged to get anyone in your household age 12+ vaccinated.
Minnesotans ages 12 and older can find information on where to get a vaccine by visiting the state’s Vaccine Connector or the federal Vaccine Finder. Right now, anyone getting the vaccine before Aug. 22 is eligible for $100 from the State of Minnesota! Visit Roll Up Your Sleeves, Minnesota for the most up-to-date information on the vaccine incentive program.
Vaccination among eligible students and staff reduces the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission in our school.
The combination of high vaccination rates (greater than 70%) and low community transmission may safely permit transitioning away from mandatory masking of all students and staff in our school.
Vaccines are not required for students or staff but are highly recommended for those that are eligible.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for determining quarantine scenarios. Those not providing proof of vaccinations will be required to follow the quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated individuals. Parents of students 12 years old and older who have been vaccinated must submit a record of COVID-19 vaccination (for the student) to the school office for the student to be exempt from specific quarantine requirements. This information will be kept confidential and will only be used to help identify quarantine needs.
Proper masking is the most effective mitigation strategy to prevent secondary transmission in schools when COVID-19 is circulating and vaccination is unavailable or there is insufficient uptake. Holy Spirit will begin the year by requiring masks to be worn while inside the school building regardless of vaccination status for all Preschool-8th grade students, faculty and staff, and visitors. This is in response to the COVID-19 Delta variant which is far more transmissible, particularly among children who are not able to be vaccinated at this time. Mask breaks will be given throughout the day. Masks will not be required when the students are outdoors, but of course students may choose to wear their mask outside. We are asking students to arrive in a clean mask and bring an extra mask to school every day.
Testing is one important strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19. Based on current levels of community spread across Minnesota, the CDC and MDH recommend that all unvaccinated school-age children and school staff should get tested for COVID-19 at least weekly throughout the school year. It is recommended that unvaccinated children involved in any extracurricular activities or sports should be tested more frequently. Vaccinated students and school staff should get tested if they are experiencing symptoms. We are asking families to use a PCR or saliva test when testing for COVID in place of a rapid test.
Students will continue to be instructed on the importance of thorough and regular handwashing. Students will continue to sanitize or wash their hands upon arrival to school and throughout the day to help minimize the spread of illness at school. Proper hygiene and etiquette will continue to be taught and enforced with students and staff.
We are grateful to our maintenance staff who worked tirelessly to keep our school clean and sanitized last year. They did a great job then, and they are ready to support our school this year with consistent cleaning and sanitizing protocols. There are air purifiers in each classroom which will be utilized each day in addition to having classroom windows open at times to allow for fresh air.
Social distancing requirements have been adjusted, and we will be able to have masked students in regular classrooms this year, making school feel much more “normal”. We will continue to maximize spacing and be aware of social distancing when gathered in larger groups.
Just like last year, it is very important that students stay home if they are sick in order to reduce the spread of their illness to others. Universal mask wearing to start the school year will help us limit the number of students and staff needing to quarantine in the event of an exposure to a person who tests positive. We want to keep all healthy students in class and learning. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home. By law, Holy Spirit is still required to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the Minnesota Department of Health. We will continue to rely on the guidance from MDH on which students and how long students need to quarantine. Quarantine periods will be between 7-14 days from exposure (or potentially longer if within the home and isolation cannot take place), and decisions regarding quarantine will be made in conjunction with public health officials. MDH is no longer requiring all students from a classroom to be sent home for potential exposure. These are the current guidelines from MDH, but of course these may change as the COVID situation evolves.
Those with a positive test and no symptoms must stay home and isolate for at least ten days.
Those with a positive test and symptoms must stay home and isolate at least 10 days from the start of symptoms (or test date) and until your symptoms are better and you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
Students and faculty/staff who display symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, fever or are otherwise ill should remain home and get tested for COVID regardless of vaccination status.
Fully vaccinated students and faculty/staff and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days will not need to quarantine in the event of an exposure unless the person is exhibiting symptoms. *Proof of vaccination is required in order to be exempt from quarantining.
If you have been in a potentially high transmission setting, get tested; and if your child is not feeling well, have them tested. The more proactive you are the less likely we will see transmission of COVID-19 in our school.
Currently, families will not need to quarantine upon travel, however, testing before return to school is highly recommended.
At this time, Holy Spirit will be offering in-class learning each day. Due to the significant challenges remote learning posed for our staff, Holy Spirit is not presently going to be offering remote learning for students out sick, including those who are quarantining at home. A permanent remote learning opportunity will also not be available during the 2021-22 academic school year. When students are absent from school, they will follow pre-pandemic policies where students will be provided absent work to make up from their teacher(s). Work will be posted to SeeSaw or Google Classroom.
Holy Spirit students will be able to enjoy lunch in the cafeteria each day with their classmates and friends. We are excited to be able to offer a hot lunch program this year through CKC Good Food. Students will play at recess with mixed grade levels this year. Masks are not required during outside time at recess, but students will wear their masks in the Commons area unless they are eating.
Providing students with extra-curricular activities to enrich their learning and social/emotional development is essential. We are excited to re-introduce these offerings to students this year. Students will be masked while participating indoors.
As shared in the Spirit News email on Aug. 17, we will be celebrating All-School Liturgies this year. To start the year, only students and faculty/staff will be allowed to attend these weekly liturgies. Students will sit with their classes to start the year, and they will be masked throughout the liturgy.
At this time, we are hoping to be able to allow field trips this year, but we are holding off on having them just yet. If children do attend field trips, parent chaperones will need to drive and meet the students at the field trip site, and masks will be worn on buses.
Parent volunteers are important to us. We are going to limit the number of volunteers that are allowed to help at the start of the year. Volunteer opportunities will be announced in Spirit News emails. Volunteers will complete a health screening after checking into the school office. Parents will be allowed into the building after school for meetings with teachers and to help coach athletics and extra-curricular activities. If you are planning on volunteering at some point this year, you will need to make sure your Virtus account is up-to-date. Please log into your account virtusonline.org to make sure you’ve completed all requirements and that your account is current.
We are relying heavily on working together with our parents to help make this a successful school year. We are asking each family to help us stay in session this year by each doing our part to complete the following tasks:
Daily Health Screening *see above and please monitor your children each day for symptoms
Communicate with the school office if your child is not feeling well and please keep them home from school.
Get tested if your child has any COVID/Cold/allergy symptoms to rule out COVID. We ask that all families complete a saliva test or PCR test in place of a rapid test.
Notify the school if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID and keep all unvaccinated family members home if there is a positive test result.
Make sure your child has pandemic supplies:
clean, properly-fit masks + extra masks packed in backpack each day
personal water bottle for each child to bring to school each day as water fountains are a thing of the past *water bottle refill stations are located throughout the building
personal hand sanitizer for each child to bring to school each day
Patience & grace - we are all in this together. COVID fatigue is real. Let’s all trust that we are going to work together and in each other’s best interest to keep each other safe and healthy this year.
This is a working document that we anticipate will change throughout the year. We will be closely monitoring the positivity rate within Ramsey County, St. Paul, and most importantly within our local school community. Changes will be made as needed, and we will communicate changes as soon as we are able.