The health and well-being of each member of the DeLaSalle community remains our highest priority and continues to guide our planning and response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other and conduct school. But it has not shaken our mission to provide a relevant educational experience, rooted in Gospel values, for our students. In fact, the pandemic has strengthened our ties as a community and allowed us to respond, as we have for more than 120 years, with compassion and concern for each individual. The resources below will help each of us understand how we can safely engage with each other in the DeLaSalle community.

Through collaborative input, DeLaSalle has created a Pandemic Preparedness Plan that addresses the health and safety needs of our employees, students, and community.

DeLaSalle’s pandemic response is coordinated through a Pandemic Planning Task Force, which continues to meet and is composed of faculty, staff, administrators, and Board of Trustees leadership. As we have done since March 2020, the Pandemic Planning Task Force regularly evaluates the school’s response and modifies DeLaSalle’s response plan as needed. The Task Force discusses local recommendations made by the Minnesota Department of Health based on transmission rates. DeLaSalle used similar information last year that helped guide administration through the school year and to avoid any disruptive outbreaks. 

Our planning is guided by the latest science and recommendations from public officials, including the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). School offices will create more specific guidance for their departments, activities, and circumstances as needed. It is important that each member of the DeLaSalle community familiarize themselves with the plan and the actions it requires.

 

DeLaSalle has developed a Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which is guided by the recommendations of local, state, and federal public health officials and governing bodies like the Minnesota State High School League. 

We remind the DeLaSalle community that everyone can take steps to minimize the spread of illness by following our Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

  • If you or anyone in your household is sick, stay home.
  • If you or anyone in your household is waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test, stay home.
  • Additionally, we recommend that you frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces (e.g. telephones, doorknobs, countertops, etc.).
  • If symptoms develop, stay home and consult with your physician to determine if medical evaluation is needed. If you are experiencing symptoms or have any concerns about COVID-19 exposure, please contact DeLaSalle’s Health Services Coordinator to provide your family with individualized guidance for school-related activities.

Masks are a helpful tool in preventing the spread of the respiratory droplets that carry coronavirus. We thank everyone for their cooperation wearing masks last school year. Per current guidelines for schools in Minnesota, those who wear masks would not have to quarantine even if exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, though a quarantine is required for those who are unmasked and exposed to a positive case. It is important to use every measure to continue full in person learning throughout the school year.

Starting on Monday, August 16, we will open the school year requiring masks for everyone while inside the school building. Please ensure that the mask fits properly over your nose and mouth. Masks may be removed to eat or drink, but should be worn at all other times. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation already requires anyone riding a school bus or van to wear a well-fitted face mask. Thank you for cooperating with the requirement on vehicles operated by Northstar Bus Lines or DeLaSalle Transportation.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) issued their current COVID recommendations just yesterday; the MSHSL encourages mask use for individuals who are not engaged in active participation or competition on the sidelines and in bleachers. 

As mentioned earlier, this is the plan to open the school year. The Pandemic Planning Taskforce will regularly evaluate DeLaSalle’s mask requirement, always in relation with other mitigation strategies, and we will continuously determine what is the best course of action.

Thank you to the many in our community who have already received their COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccines are the best defense against COVID-19 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for all who are 12 years or older. It is entirely likely that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) will set a requirement for all students in all schools to receive a COVID vaccine within the next several weeks, in the same context as vaccines are required for polio, measles, etc.

Please check with your local healthcare provider or the Minnesota Vaccine Connector to obtain a vaccination.

DeLaSalle will host a vaccination clinic for anyone 12 years or older who is eligible to receive a vaccine and has not yet received one. The clinic will be Friday, September 10, from 3:00-6:00pm in the Schulze Lab (D104). Vaccinating nurses will bring the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those younger than 18. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses. DeLaSalle is planning a second vaccination clinic in the weeks to come to provide the second dose to those who receive their first dose on September 10.

Walk-ins are welcome, but, if you are able, please complete this short pre-registration form by Friday, September 3 to let us know if you plan to attend so we can have an adequate supply of vaccinations to administer. Students who are younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian’s consent to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccinating nurse will accept verbal consent over the phone, so parents should be available to answer their child’s call or be physically present to give your child approval.

Those who receive a vaccine are also eligible to receive an incentive for doing so. We are working on some exciting incentives and will soon announce which ones are available.

DeLaSalle used several mitigation strategies in the 2020-21 school year which proved effective in preventing the secondary transmission of COVID-19 on campus. We will continue to use many of the same strategies as we begin the 2021-22 school year. Each strategy contributes to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission onsite, and when multiple strategies are layered, this creates a lower risk environment which will keep students, faculty, staff, and families safer than using only one or no mitigation measures.

From consultation with multiple health professionals, we know that good ventilation is key to providing a safe environment during the pandemic — from physically being outside to bringing clean outside air into indoor spaces and venting filtered inside air out of our buildings. We are confident that all three of our classroom buildings now offer exceptional air exchange and air quality each day. 

As returning families know, during the 2020-21 school year, DeLaSalle upgraded the HVAC system in the B Building to match the systems already in place in the A and D buildings and provide exceptional air flow and ventilation in classrooms and offices. The project included the installation of a bipolar ionization system as well as several outside air systems and rooftop units, which help to circulate fresh air and remove harmful particles from the building. 

We are pleased to report that, as part of our upgrade, the B building is now fully air conditioned. The AC will provide relief in classrooms and the Florance Center on hot days at the beginning and end of the school year.

We encourage everyone to continue practicing physical distancing as much as possible this year. Keeping a safe space between yourself and other people will help reduce the risk of exposure and limit the number of close contacts when someone is infected with COVID-19.

The hand sanitation stations that we deployed throughout classrooms and common spaces on campus will remain for the 2021-22 school year. Hand washing and sanitation are easy steps we can take to help prevent the spread of disease and we encourage everyone to sanitize their hands each time they enter and leave a space.

Regular classroom attendance is important for students to learn and engage in their courses. But, it is even more important that students stay home if they are sick to avoid spreading their illness to others. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home. Those with a positive test and no symptoms must stay home for at least 10 days. Those with a positive test and symptoms must stay home until your symptoms are better and you have not had a fever for 24 hours. Even students who display symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, or fever should remain home. A parent or guardian must report an absence by calling (612) 676-7600 or emailing mainoffice@delasalle.com.

Students and families participating in onsite activities are encouraged to seek regular COVID-19 testing as a form of screening for illness. Previously, MDH had recommended that only people with symptoms or risk of exposure to a positive case seek COVID-19 testing. Now that the State has greatly increased testing capacity at free community testing locations (in addition to the free at-home testing kits), getting a COVID-19 test is quick and easy, and MDH specifically recommends students and families participating in onsite activities use these tests. This means that students and families who have no symptoms or exposure are encouraged to get tested regularly. Through the MDE educator testing program, DeLaSalle has been conducting COVID-19 screening tests for employees every two weeks. By testing regularly, these COVID-19 diagnostic tests turn into a screening and surveillance tool, to help individuals, families, and the school be more vigilant and assist in tracking any potential COVID-19 transmission. (Please note, individuals are not required to stay home while waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test if it was taken in a screening capacity, but must stay home if testing is due to symptoms or COVID-19 exposure.)

What does student/family testing look like?

There are many options for students and families to get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. One example is to take your whole family to a free community testing location the same day of the week, every other week. Another example is to order free at-home testing kits for each member of your household and use them on the same day of the week, every other week. Both the community testing locations and at-home testing kits are saliva tests, which are quick and easy to use! Alternatively, you can also seek testing from your healthcare provider or many pharmacies. The important thing to remember is that screening regularly for COVID-19 adds another mitigation layer to all the other strategies we have in place—it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it definitely helps! DeLaSalle encourages families to implement this strategy to support our COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Please contact Caroline Sell, our Health Services Coordinator, with any questions.

All students must review the “Student” section of the Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

  • Expectations
    • Monitor your health: Complete your home-based health screening every day and stay home when you are ill or have had contact with someone who had COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test.
    • Wash your hands: Always wash your hands after using the restroom and before eating. Regularly sanitize your hands when coming into contact with high-touch areas or shared items.
    • Support your community: Be kind and help others. Now is the time to serve your community!
  • Activities
    All of DeLaSalle’s activities will comply with the health and safety protocols outlined in the Pandemic Preparedness Plan. This means that some activities will be offered onsite, while others will be offered remotely. More on the Student Activities webpage.

DeLaSalle has implemented the following protocol for students who have COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with confirmed COVID-19 individual.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, or tested positive for the virus yourself, please stay at home to begin a recommended 14-day quarantine and complete this survey. DeLaSalle health and administrative staff will follow up with you after you submit your survey to determine next steps.

Students who are quarantined should communicate their absence to their teachers and discuss how they will make up any missed assignments or work. A student or family may request a shortened quarantine period if they can provide documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test through this online documentation tool. DeLaSalle health or administrative staff will follow up and communicate whether the student is eligible for a shortened quarantine. Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine if they do not have symptoms, but proof must be submitted through this survey or directly to DeLaSalle health or administrative staff.

A student may not return to on-campus learning until they are cleared by a school administrator.

We want to hear from you! Please direct your questions/comments here and we will send them to the appropriate person who can answer your questions. 

DeLaSalle administration, staff and counselors recognize the myriad emotions our students and families may be experiencing because of the pandemic. 

It is important to recognize that students will react in various ways to the things going on in their environment. Some of these reactions include:  behavioral changes, anger, anxiety, distress, and unusual sleep patterns. DeLaSalle counselors  understand the importance of social, emotional and mental health support during these times of unrest. Counselors will be available to provide support both on campus and virtually. In addition to supporting our students and families, we will continue sending information and resources to best support our community.