MSA UPDATE ON COVID-19

Dear MSA Families and Community Members, 

 

Like promised, we are writing to keep you updated as we learn more about the current situation regarding COVID-19.  We know there is great concern among our students, families, staff, and community members about COVID-19.  As we learn more about COVID-19, we wanted to update you on how we are responding to new information and guidance.  The safety and health of our employees and students/families is important. We’ve been in close contact with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) as well as our local resources in Rice County. 

 

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

 

What is The Minnesota State Academies doing about COVID-19?

  • Our school has a crisis plan and team working together to continue planning and responding to changes as this situation continues to quickly evolve.

  • We are in communications with the MN Department of Education and the MN Department of Health and are following their recommendations, guidance and strategies to combat COVID-19.

  • We are making changes to our daily operations to include more hand-washing, additional cleaning, and changing our routines to reduce the amount of close interactions between groups of students.   We will continue to monitor and make adjustments as we learn more throughout the upcoming weeks/months.  

  • Some activities will be modified, canceled, or limited in scope to reduce community interactions.  We will communicate those changes as soon as possible. 

 

What is COVID-19?  

COVID-19 is the viral respiratory illness caused by the newly identified coronavirus.  While many cases may be mild to moderate with symptoms similar to influenza, some cases may be more severe. 

 

Who is at risk?  

Older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease, are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • Fever 

  • Cough

  • Shortness of Breath

 

*THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:  Please check your student for signs of illness BEFORE they come to school. Do NOT send your child to school with a fever, cough or trouble breathing or if they are sick.  If your student develops a fever or becomes sick at school, you will be notified immediately and asked to pick them up from school.  Please prepare ahead of time and have a plan in place to do that.

 

How can I protect myself and others?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after going to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.

  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Cover Your Cough or Sneeze. 

  • Stay home when you are sick.

 

What can I do now?

  • You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms AND 

  • If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, live in or recently traveled from a country on the CDC’s list of countries with Level 3 or Level 2 alerts, please self-quarantine and communicate with your doctor for further instructions.  

  • We are all in this together.  Please use your resources to understand the facts about COVID-19 and do your part to keep yourself and those around you healthy.  Links are shared below for your information.

 

What do I do if I get sick?

  • If you get sick with a fever (100.4 F or higher),have a cough or are short of breath:

    • Seek medical care but CALL AHEAD to your doctor’s office to let them know you are coming.

    • Tell your doctor about any recent travel and your symptoms.

    • Avoid contact with others.

 

Will school be closed or activities be canceled due to COVID-19?

  • The MN Department of Health is not recommending school closures at this time, however please be prepared if this becomes necessary in the future.  Our information changes quickly and decisions may change quickly. 

  • Decisions about activity cancellations are being reviewed at this time.  We will be limiting out-of-school activities, canceling all out-of-state travel for the time being, and reconfiguring our activities to limit community interactions.   More information will be shared soon. 

 

How does the updated CDC Travel Restrictions affect our school?

  • We are following the CDC guidance and are in consultation with MDH regarding the action steps to be taken.

  • Our school staff and students affected by this, including our International Studies club who recently returned from Europe, have been asked to stay home from school, self monitor and practice social distancing for 14 days. 

 

How do I get more information?

  • Call the MDH COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 (Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

  • MDH Website 

  • CDC Website

  • We will post updates on our website as often as we can (MSA website).

 

We will continue to keep you informed of our response and any circumstances that impact our school.  If there are further questions or concerns, please contact me, your student’s campus director, and/or Ms. Kimberly Viskocil, our Director of Health Services.   Our contact information is below: 
 

Terry Wilding - Superintendent

Videophone: 507-412-5200

Phone - 507-384-6602

terry.wilding@msa.state.mn.us

 

Anne Grace Donatucci – MSAD campus director

Videophone: 507-412-5129

Phone: 507-384-6649 

annegrace.donatucci@msa.state.mn.us

 

John Davis – MSAB campus director

Phone: 507-384-6701

john.davis@msa.state.mn.us

 

Kimberly Viskocil – Health Services

Phone: 507-384-6611

kimberly.viskocil@msa.state.mn.us

 

Thank you very much for your support, understanding, and patience with us.  

Sincerely,

Terrence T. Wilding

Superintendent





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