from St. Croix Preparatory Academy
Dear Prep Community,

Note: This communication is being sent after the press conference conducted by Governor Walz in which he declared a peace time emergency. During this call, MDH strongly recommended that all schools remain open. We will follow this recommendation. Like Stillwater and several other east metro districts – who have also been on Spring Break – we are extending Spring Break by two days in order to plan for the new procedures and measures which will ensure the safety of our students and staff. Classes will resume on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The communication below reflects our current plans and actions.
As the influx of new information about COVID-19 continues to evolve by the hour, we want to assure you that St. Croix Prep is closely monitoring these events and making decisions based on the guidance from organizations responsible for providing this expertise. We want to update our community on what we are doing and considering for the future as we place the protection of our students, families, and staff at the forefront of all decisions.
For the past three weeks, we have been involved in ongoing conference calls with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) regarding COVID-19 and its potential impact on St. Croix Preparatory Academy. We are aware of and monitoring all of the recent developments with this virus and have been tracking the actions taken by neighboring educational institutions (e.g. K-12 and post-secondary). The following outlines our current plans with the understanding that these could change as this situation is quite fluid:

  • Personal Travel Advisory. Staff and students who recently arrived from Level 3 areas (see here) should self-quarantine as recommended by the CDC. This includes not attending school for 14 days at a minimum.  Staff and students from countries other than the identified Level 3 areas, do not have any special restrictions or need to seek health care unless they have been identified by public health officials as a contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • Class and Extra-Curricular Schedule. Classes and extra-curricular activities will remain scheduled until we receive recommendations to the contrary. This decision has been informed by the guidance and actions recommended from the institutions noted in the following point.

  • Basic & Essential Hygiene. Emphasis on basic sickness/disease prevention, namely thorough washing of hands, use of hand sanitizer, covering of mouth when coughing, and staying home from school/work when sick. We are advising teachers to increase handwashing particularly prior/after lunch and after activities that result in student-to-student contact.

  • Adjustments to School Health Services. To minimize student exposure to communicable viruses, a temporary second health room will be established to treat only those with virus symptoms. The primary health room will be used to treat all other health matters (cuts, medication dispensing etc.). Additional staffing of health room is being coordinated, to support the additional health room.

  • Visitors and Parent Pickup/Drop-off Protocol Amended.  We are limiting visitors to those who have scheduled appointments. Unless absolutely necessary, please do not escort your children into the building at the beginning of the day or wait inside the building to pick them up at the close of our scheduled day.

  • Social Distancing. While this is extremely difficult in schools, we are taking extra measures to rework our day/procedures (e.g. expanding lunch areas, staggering schedules, etc.) to reduce crowded large group situations. CDC has asked schools to reduce the frequency of large group gatherings; they have also recommended limiting the attendance for events that the school does schedule. This impact, especially upon our extra-curricular programming, will be communicated as decisions are made.

  • Attendance Monitoring. MDH requires us to report absence numbers for specific or suspected communicable diseases/symptoms including influenza and now COVID-19. This policy was instituted with H1N1. If your children are sick, please indicate symptoms on the attendance line so we can accurately monitor our absenteeism. If you have a diagnosis from the doctor please state the doctor confirmed diagnosis.

  • Facilities Cleaning. High volume traffic areas are being disinfected intentionally and more frequently. In addition, over Spring Break, the building has been thoroughly disinfected (e.g. classrooms, carpets, handrails, lockers, locker rooms, etc.) with products recommended by the CDC. 

  • Support for Staff/Students who Self-Quarantine. We will support students and staff who may be asked by public health officials to stay home for 14 days by allowing for leniency in absenteeism from classes, administrative work, and extracurricular activities. COVID-19 Warning Level 3 - click here for more information. 

  • MDH Assistance if COVID-19 present in faculty/student. If public health officials identify a staff member or student at our school as a patient under investigation (PUI) or a confirmed case of COVID-19, they will reach out to St. Croix Prep to provide information and guidance on notifications and other infection prevention actions.

  • Educational Travel. Educational Travel opportunities are being evaluated and reconsidered. We are in communication with our travel partners and will follow the recommendation of CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.

  • Guidelines for Communication with your children. For guidance on communication with your children, please click here.
We want to assure you that the safety of all of our students and staff remain our highest priority. We will provide you with additional information as we continue to monitor this situation.  Classes will resume on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.   
Thank you for your attention to this.
Jon Gutierrez, Executive Director
Candace Westlund, RN, LSN, CNP, Licensed School Nurse