Nov. 29, 2021
Dear SANB families,
We know this is a long communication, but an important one. Our district, with collective action and a commitment to in-person learning, has been able to navigate the rise of COVID-19 cases in our state and community. Thank you for being vigilant and selfless so every student has the opportunity to learn in-person and for our students to also participate in their extra-curricular activities. We expect to see increases in COVID-19 spread in our community during the holiday season and with colder temperatures. We are asking our community to stay committed to our mitigation strategies. If we work together, we can eliminate classroom, grade-level and/or school-wide distance learning.
In a message sent to families on Nov. 18, we addressed an increase in COVID-19 cases within Minnesota and in St. Anthony-New Brighton. This communication will provide an update on the district’s COVID-19 numbers and the additional mitigation strategies being implemented.
The links below bring you to each bookmarked section of this message:
Thank you for your continued support of the common good and for helping keep our kids in our buildings.
Dr. Renee Corneille, Superintendent
Lori Watzl-King, District COVID Coordinator
The chart below demonstrates that positive COVID-19 cases among students at WP are increasing and students who are a close contact are quarantining. Keep in mind that at this time, no student that attends WP is fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after receiving a second COVID-19 vaccine dose).
In contrast, 80% of students at both SAMS and SAVHS (grades 7-12) are fully vaccinated. Students who are fully vaccinated and happen to be considered a close contact, do not need to quarantine unless they present symptoms.
Student cases at each school
Sept. 8-Nov. 7
19 (avg. 2/wk)
20 (avg. 7/wk)
8 (avg. 1/wk)
4 (avg. 1/wk)
11* (avg. 1/wk)
(*6 were due to an outbreak in one activity)
Our mitigation strategies
We prioritize in-person learning with a focus on the following mitigation strategies:
These mitigation strategies, in combination with a high-level vaccination rate among staff and students (grades 7-12), are working and allow for uninterrupted in-person learning.
As families celebrate this holiday season, we will continue to adhere to our mitigation strategies over the next eight weeks. We ask our families to do the same.
Prepare for quarantines
If your child is fully vaccinated (both doses plus two weeks following the second dose), consistently wears their mask at school, and does not show symptoms, they do not have to be quarantined if they are identified as a close contact.
Here’s a brief overview of how quarantines will look at all three schools:
Impact on staffing
Breakthrough cases are impacting staff attendance. Please be aware that classrooms may have to shift to Distance Learning if a certain level of staffing is impacted.
Students (ages five to 11), are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. WP hosted two vaccine clinics for students in this age group; more than 400 spots were filled within a few hours. If your student still needs to get vaccinated, you can find resources here.
Remember, the vaccine does not prevent an individual from getting COVID-19. It protects individuals from severe illness and hospitalization. Additional mitigation strategies (i.e. masking) prevents the spread of COVID-19 and allows for in-person learning and extra-curricular activities.
As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, please be mindful of the increase in cases within our state and in our schools. In Minnesota, the COVID-19 positivity rate is now at 10%. According to the World Health Organization, a 5% positivity rate is considered high levels of community transmission.
So, what can be done to help combat this increase in transmission? With 80% of students at SAMS & SAVHS being fully vaccinated, the numbers indicate that vaccinations work.
The graph below shows COVID-19 positive cases (blue), students and staff that have been asked to quarantine (orange), and those who didn’t need to quarantine (gray). The gray lines indicate those who could’ve been quarantined but weren’t because they were either wearing masks or were fully vaccinated (or both).
COVID-19 testing in our schools
Maria Campanaro, the district’s new COVID-19 Testing Coordinator, has been hired to add an additional layer of mitigation. By Dec. 6, we hope to begin weekly testing for students and staff. Testing will take place on Wednesdays at WP, and on Thursdays at SAVHS and SAMS. Student testing will only occur with parental consent.
Athletics & Activities
Students who participate in athletics and activities need to continue to follow the district’s increased mitigation strategies in order to continue without interruption. One of those mitigation strategies is weekly testing for COVID-19. This will help with the possibility of affecting an entire team and pausing the activity/sport for a total of two weeks, or longer.
The following are mitigation strategies for athletics and activities:
Practices and games:
Outside of activity/sport:
Events in the gyms:
Upcoming band concerts: