November 19, 2020 - News & Notes
From The Desk Of Principal Kerr
This week we asked another class to move to distance learning. Ms. Buesgens’s kindergartners will be learning from home through Thanksgiving and returning on November 30 (only 4 school days). We were advised to quarantine the whole class as our kindergarteners have a really hard time with the concept of social distancing (read: they are all over each other no matter how hard we try to keep them apart). Their mask wearing skills are also not yet fully developed. Consequently, the kids in that class are all considered close contacts and must quarantine through Nov. 26. Their siblings do not need to quarantine unless they become symptomatic or test positive.

At our SAC meeting last week we discussed considerations for going to distance learning, and at this time we plan to continue with in person learning for whomever can be here in person. Currently we have 8 classrooms learning virtually, out of 19 pre-K through grade 8 classrooms. Eleven classes are learning here at school, although more parents have chosen to move their children to distance learning because of the number of COVID cases. Doing both in person and distance at the same time is a strain on teachers, and we will keep an eye on when it makes more sense to have everyone in a class move to distance learning. We plan to be back with all students PreK-8 on Monday, November 30.

And since I mentioned the teachers, I need to sing their praises once again. They keep carrying on with great “can do” attitudes, trying to make the most out of whatever situation they are in. You might expect some grumbling or simmering, but we have a very positive atmosphere around here with everyone helping each other out, and doing their best to make a great experience for the kids. I feel so blessed to work with these ultimate Catholic school professionals!

We have found a new Special Services Facilitator right in our own backyard! Mrs. Stephanie Paulson has accepted the position and will leave our preschool where she serves as a lead teacher. Mrs. Paulson has many years of teaching experience in Special Education, a degree in Exceptional Education Needs, and graduate work in brain research, Asperger Syndrome, Discipline with Dignity, and engaging Multiple Intelligences. We are so excited to have her in this role to help all our Blues develop to their greatest God-given potential! Ashley Lind is interviewing preschool candidates and will keep us posted on the hiring process.

Today is Give to the Max Day. If you are looking to make an end of year gift, please consider including St. Michael in your giving plans. St. Michael alumni, please consider sharing our Give to the Max link with your former classmates.

After Mass on Wednesday, the kids surprised me with a Principal Appreciation Day celebration. Their cards and acrostic poem were so cute and a huge day brightener.

Tomorrow night at 6:30 our Golden Gophers face the Purdue Boilermakers after a crushing loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes last week. I’ll be doing my part: wearing maroon and gold and cheering them on! Have a wonderful weekend, God bless your families and go Blues, go Gophers!

Mrs. Kerr
Stay Home and Stay Apart!
The state has issued more restrictions during this time of spiking COVID cases. Governor Walz specifically mentioned schools and hospitals in his message last night. We ask families to consider the recommendations coming from state leadership: stay home, and stay apart. The restrictions are tough during the holidays, but meant to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We want to stay open for the sake of the kids, of course, and that will be easier if we don't have to keep quarantining students and teachers. Families must make their own decisions about health and safety, and we will continue to ask that anyone who may have been exposed, or is experiencing symptoms, would not be at school.

No-cost, at-home COVID-19 testing information: The MN Department of Health is promoting at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for any person who wants to be tested, with or without symptoms, at not cost. This saliva test is just as accurate as the nasal swab test and is available at no cost for every Minnesotan, whether or not you have insurance. More information is available on the Minnesota Department of Health's website, including information on how to order a test.

Out-of-state travel is highly discouraged. Incoming visitors and Minnesotans who travel out-of-state are asked to stay home (quarantine) for 14 days. During those 14 days, it is important that you watch for symptoms and stay home if you become sick. For information on testing, visit Find Testing Locations. If you have to go somewhere, wear a mask, stay 6 feet from people, and wash your hands often.

Visit CDC: Travel for more information about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not Sure When To Stay Home?
We have shared this before, and will keep sending reminders about when to stay home. We follow the decision tree developed by MDH.

  • Students and staff must stay home if they are experiencing ONE of the following more common symptoms: a fever of 100.4 or higher (without fever reducing medicine); new onset and/or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, or loss of taste/smell.

  • Students and staff must stay home if they are experiencing TWO or more less common symptoms: sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new onset of severe headache, new onset of nasal congestion or runny nose.

  • Students and Staff must stay home if they have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Please note:
  • Allergy and cold symptoms appear on the less common symptom list, and will be considered COVID-19 symptoms until a doctor gives an alternate diagnosis that is shared with the school.
  • Siblings must also stay home when a family member has symptoms.

This decision tree is part of our mitigation efforts. We are trying our best to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at St. Michael. We are trying to stay open for in person learning, 5 days/week, for the full 2020-21 school year. It is a pain in the neck wearing masks, trying to keep the kids at a safe distance from one another, hand washing and sanitizing constantly, maintaining learning cohorts, monitoring symptoms, and rethinking so many of our routines. We are all experiencing fatigue around these efforts. However, it is ALL worth it if we can keep our kids in school where they belong. Please hang in there with us, be vigilant, keep up the mitigation efforts and stay home if necessary. Do it for the kids!
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COVID-19
Attendance Guide for Parents and Families

What do isolation and quarantine mean?
These words are used by people in public health to describe what someone should do when they stay home because they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. Isolation and quarantine are public health actions that help stop the spread of germs and keep people safe.

Isolation means keeping sick people away from healthy people. The sick person stays home and tries to stay away from other people in their home as much as possible. Here are ways to do this at home:
  •  Choose one person to care for the sick child, if possible. This person should keep their distance from other people in the house as much as possible, and use a face covering, stay 6 feet apart, and wash their hands often. 
  •  The person who is sick stays at home and away from other people who live there, as much as possible. They can stay in their own bedroom or another part of the home and use their own bathroom, as much as they can. They should stay out of areas where others gather, such as the kitchen and living room.

Quarantine means keeping people who are not sick yet, but who were exposed to a sick person, away from others. Someone can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms. Quarantine stops them from accidentally spreading the virus to other people.
  • Choose one person to care for the person in quarantine, if possible. This person should keep their distance from other people in the house as much as possible, and use a face covering, stay 6 feet apart, and wash their hands often.
  • The person who is in quarantine should stay away from others. This means not participating in activities outside the home.
Give to the Max is today!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

What is Give to the Max?
Give to the Max is a statewide outpouring of support for thousands of nonprofits and schools across Minnesota! 

Please consider St. Mike's on November 19

St. Michael Alumni-please consider posting this to your social media platforms and inviting your former schoolmates to Give to the Max for St. Mike's!
Aim Higher Foundation
Reserve Fund Scholarships Available
The Aim Higher Foundation announced today that they are opening a Reserve Fund application for the 2020-21 school year. As a reminder, the Reserve Fund Scholarship is a $1,000 Aim Higher Scholarship awarded to K-8 students from families who experience sudden and unexpected financial hardship outside of the Foundation’s normal application and awarding timelines. The Reserve Fund is intended to help existing Catholic school families keep their children enrolled during a time of financial hardship. Please reach out to Darlene Casey if you would like to apply for this scholarship.
2020 St. Michael's Blues & White Gala is NOT cancelled!  

Save the Date:
February 13, 2021

With the pandemic, rules and restrictions around gatherings and how many people venues can hold, we will be having a Virtual Gala.
We need volunteers to make this event successful. The more volunteers, the lighter the workload and the bigger the success.
Plus this is a great way to connect with our parent community!

For questions please contact, Brandi McColm Director of Advancement mccolm@saintmpl.org

Wednesday Early Release Days

Wednesday Early Dismissal Care & Homework Time

Sign-up for December is closed.
December Early Release Care is full.
January sign-up will be available soon.

In order to ensure proper staffing and the safety of all students we request no late enrollment.
Volunteers Needed!
LUNCH AND RECESS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:
We still have many empty spots to fill; your help is needed!

  • Lunchroom and kitchen every day from 10:30am - 12:45pm. If you are available midday, please sign up using the Sign-Up Genius button below.
  • Recess from 11:10am - 1:10. Please use the Sign-up Genius button below.

All volunteers must be up to date on Virtus training. See section below for more information. Please visit virtusonline.org to log in or to create an account and complete the required steps to be a volunteer.
SCRIP GIFT CARDS CAN BE SHIPPED DIRECTLY TO YOUR HOME!
School Office: (952) 447-2124
24/7 Absentee Line: (952) 447-2230