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Community Update January 13, 2022

Community Update

Dear Prep Community,

As you know, the omicron COVID variant continues to spread rapidly both nationally and locally.  At a meeting earlier this week, we learned from CentraCare that the surge likely will continue in Minnesota through the second or third week of February before beginning to subside. Locally, the number of people testing positive for COVID, as well as the test positivity rate, have increased sharply in the last week. While we have not yet experienced widespread disruption at school, we want to provide you with an update on how we plan to manage the next four to eight weeks:

  • We are committed to providing in-person, in-school instruction for as long as we can. Several school districts in the Twin Cities metro area have transitioned to eLearning this week because they do not have enough staff at school to deliver instruction. We have not reached that point and will remain in person as long as we have enough teaching staff in the building to effectively deliver our curriculum. We do not now plan to offer an eLearning option. If it becomes clear we cannot provide appropriate in-person instruction, we will switch the entire school to online learning.  We monitor pandemic conditions in the county and in our school every day. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are prepared to pivot as we need to with new information.
  • We will vigilantly enforce mask wearing in school. CentraCare and other public health organizations have urged universal indoor masking to help reduce the rapid spread of the omicron variant. We have masked throughout the year and will continue that practice throughout the surge. This is a good time to consider updating your mask collection. CentraCare and other public health officials now recommend the use of medical grade masks (which provide multiple layers of protection), such as surgical masks or KN-95 masks.
  • We have begun to limit some of our in-school gathering. CentraCare clearly indicated that they were not recommending shutdowns but rather steps (like universal masking and more limited public gatherings) to avoid a “sick down.” With that in mind, PrepTalk, Colloquium, and Prayer Services all will be conducted remotely from advisories rather than held in the Weber Center. At this point, athletic and co-curricular events and competitions will continue, though we will continue to limit attendance at home games or meets to Prep fans only and will continue to require masking.
  • We will continue to contact trace and follow-up with families when a student has been identified as a close contact. This has been our practice throughout the pandemic and will remain our practice. As we noted in the COVID protocols we sent you two weeks ago, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines related to quarantine and isolation for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

We understand and share the concern about the recent surge in COVID. We are committed to creating as safe a school environment as possible. We believe that in-person instruction remains the best choice for our school community, and it remains the recommendation of experts. We will continue to make decisions that allow us to remain in-person for as long as possible.  We are deeply appreciative of the level of support and cooperation we have received from families as we have navigated the pandemic throughout not only this year but last year. And, like everyone, we look forward to the return of more normal times.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

With gratitude,

Jon McGee
Head of School

Christine Glomski