Parents, students and staff all have questions about safety when it comes to COVID-19.
Click here for answers from the Mn Dept. of Health to common parent questions such as:
How long does it take for symptoms to start?
When must my child stay home?
How long must my child stay home?
What if s/he tests positive but has no symptoms?
What if my child has had close contact with someone who has tested positive?
Guidance in this document is provided by the Minnesota department of health. Please call us if you have further questions about your child
We’re always working hard to ensure your loved ones stay safe while learning at PRB or attending events.
COVID-19 Mitigation Decision Structure
COVID-19 Protocol for 21-22 School Year
Pine River-Backus Schools are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all of our staff, students, community and facility use participants. To ensure we have a safe and healthy workplace, PRB has developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for the 2021-2022 school year in response to the continued threat of the COVID-19 virus. All staff and volunteers are responsible for implementing this plan and all staff, students, families and community are responsible for following this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our staff, instructors, volunteers, and participants. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons in our schools and facilities.
Education Overview for PRB
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) along with the Minnesota Health Department (MDH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will continue to make recommendations for the continued safety of schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Pine River-Backus Schools (PRB) COVID-19 Response Team will review these recommendations at a local level to determine the need for implementation based on local data and community needs. PRB will implement the requirements made from MDE and MDH.
Pine River-Backus Schools will begin the 2021-22 school year with in-person learning for grades pre K through 12th grade. We will be following pre-pandemic schedules which included school 5 days a week, specialist classes, dismissal at 3:15, and after school activities.
Pine River-Backus Schools will not require face masking or coverings. Face masking and coverings will be recommended and encouraged for children and staff who wish to continue the practice for personal safety or to reduce exposure for family members at home.
Health Screening, Positive Case, Quarantining & Isolation Procedures
Staff will self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If they are experiencing any symptoms they will contact the school nurse for guidance and may need to stay home.
Families and students must self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If they are experiencing any symptoms they must stay home. This involves the at home screening process of temperature checks before boarding any school vehicle or entering the school building. Once students arrive, if they appear to have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they will be directed to the nurses office for further screening and a parent/guardian will be contacted for student pickup. A copy of the Home Screening Process recommended by MDH will be provided to each family and posted on the district website.
Pine River-Backus Schools will have Vault (saliva testing) Kits available for staff. Students will be given the BinaxNOW OTC nasal kits, these can be taken at home or at school with guardian consent. The testing kits will be offered to parents to take home when called by the school nurse to pick up students who are experiencing symptoms.
Pine River-Backus Schools is not requiring vaccinations for students, staff or visitors/volunteers.
While fewer children have become seriously ill with Covid-19 than adults during the pandemic, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get sick with COVID-19, spread the virus to others, and have severe outcomes from their infection. Vaccine eligibility has been expanded to include some school-age children who are 12 years and older. Because children under 12 years of age are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and children age 12 to 15 are only recently eligible, there is an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission in school settings. The introduction of new variants of COVID-19, as well as increasing rates of vaccination among adults and adolescents, may also impact the epidemiology and incidence of COVID-19 among this population.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strongly recommends vaccination for those ages 12 and older to support in-person learning, and to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including children, students, teachers, staff, and members of their households. This recommendation is grounded in the knowledge that the benefits of being physically present in school are significant and creating conditions that help safeguard in-person instruction is a priority.
Social distancing awareness will be addressed by staff and classroom teachers.
Hygiene and Source Controls
Basic infection prevention measures are being implemented at our facilities and busses at all times. Staff and students are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of activities. When handwashing is not available an appropriate hand sanitizer will be provided.
Instructors and community participants using school facilities will be instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, particularly their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands.
Equipment Usage & Cleaning
Regular practices of cleaning and disinfecting have been implemented, including a schedule for routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, vehicles, and areas in the work environment. Community and group participants should bring their own equipment (laptops / supplies) for each activity and follow recommended disinfecting procedures.
Communication with Students, Families & Staff
To address the ongoing issue associated with keeping students, staff, families and community informed of the Pine River-Backus Schools Covid-19 Response Plan, the plan will be posted on the school website and a printed copy will be available in each school office. Infinite Campus Messenger Services (email, phone call and text), as well as letters from school administration will be used to notify families of any changes. Details of the plan will also be shared during monthly School Board meetings and work sessions that will be livestreamed. Parents will be asked to ensure their information is updated in the Parent Portal during back-to-school conferences and Open Houses. Technology Kiosks are available in each office area to assist parents with Infinite Campus Parent Portal access.
Internet & Device Access
PRB has been granted provisional approval from MDE for online learning if the need should arise for classrooms, grade levels, or buildings. PRB has the capacity to go 1:1 with Chromebooks allowing easy transition to online learning if needed.
The health and safety of the PRB staff is extremely important. Every employee will receive 2 district supplied cloth face masks if needed. Clear plexiglass barriers will continue to be used in school office workstations where contact with the public is required. Additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as: gowns and face shields for duties requiring additional protection (assisting student toileting/hygiene needs or behavioral concerns such as student spitting and biting). The use of hand sanitizer will be encouraged and available at each workstation and classroom.
Activities / Athletics
School Athletics and Community Education Activities will continue to be offered following guidance from the Minnesota State High School League and Minnesota Community Education Association.
Federal rules require face masking on all school buses for ages 2 and up. Social distancing is not required. We recommend family members sit together whenever possible. Bus passes to alternative buses will not be allowed.
Accommodations for Special Populations
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies and procedures will be provided. To learn more about accommodations, parents/guardians should contact his/her child’s case manager.
Visitors & Volunteers
Visitors and volunteers who are ill are not to enter into any Pine River-Backus School Buildings. Visitors and volunteers will follow regular protocols when checking in at each school during the day.