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Update to the 2021-2022 back-to-school plan

Lus Hmoob

Osseo Area Schools families, 

In mid-July, Osseo Area Schools shared a back-to-school plan centered on a more normal school year. Since then the latest COVID-19 variant, delta, has rapidly increased positive cases in Minnesota, Hennepin County, and the cities our district serves. In particular, positive cases amongst Hennepin County school-age children have substantially risen. Health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) agree the delta variant is more contagious, which is causing the increase in positive cases. 

This developing situation has prompted a review of the district’s 2021-22 back-to-school plan and led to some modifications this week. Much of the current plan will remain the same with one exception: Staff, students in early childhood through grade 12 and visitors will be required to wear a face covering/mask inside school facilities during trimester one (Sept. 8 - Dec. 6). The school board voted on and approved this requirement at a special meeting Aug. 20.

The last several months have shown that mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 in our schools and communities is a layered approach. The use of face coverings/masks is one of a multitude of ways that Osseo Area Schools hopes to ensure students and staff can attend school in person five days a week as planned.  

The modification to the 2021-22 back-to-school plan was made by the school board after its review of district, county, state and federal COVID-19 information, the district's COVID-19 preparedness plan and its decision-making framework. The district’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, staff and community visitors was stressed.

Here are some highlights from the district’s COVID-19 preparedness plan; the full plan can be viewed online on the COVID-19 Hub. 

Learning and school enrollment 

  • Students will attend school five days a week, in person. If an online learning experience is preferred, parents/caregivers must enroll their student(s) in 279Online, a comprehensive online school for students kindergarten through grade 12. There is currently space available for student enrollment at all grade levels.
  • Students must follow the same in-district transfer process to move between in-person learning and 279Online as they would to move between any other district schools. It’s possible for such a transition to occur between trimesters.
  • New this year: Make sure to fill out back-to-school forms online. Go to district279.org/forms for more information.  

Vaccine 

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals 12 years and older. Proof of vaccination will not be required of students or staff to attend school/work. 
  • Students and staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be asked to self-isolate at home. Students and staff will also be asked to quarantine at home should a member of their household test positive for COVID-19. Close contacts at school will be notified but only asked to stay home if they’re symptomatic. 

Health and safety protocols 

  • Students, staff and visitors will be encouraged to practice personal health hygiene, including staying home when they're sick, covering their coughs and washing their hands. 
  • Students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings/masks in all district facilities and school buses and vehicles throughout trimester one. Exemptions will be accepted per the approved school board resolution.
  • Disinfection and cleaning will continue. A hospital-grade disinfectant is used throughout schools.
  • Ventilation will be run on a modified schedule to provide as much fresh air and airflow as possible at schools. 
  • Schools will maintain at least three feet of social distancing between students, staff and visitors within classrooms, where and when possible. 

Students, staff and parents/caregivers, your flexibility and understanding is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for partnering with our schools to create a safe and healthy environment during the pandemic.

More information, including details on the district’s COVID-19 preparedness plan and FAQ, can be found on the District COVID-19 Hub