March 9, 2020

Dear EPS Families and Staff,

As you likely know, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed one case of coronavirus in Ramsey County on Friday, and a “presumptive” case in Carver County over the weekend. MDH communicated with the state’s school districts on Friday afternoon. At this time, guidance for school-day protocols have not changed and our schools will remain open.

However, all Edina school-sanctioned trips are being reviewed. Thus far, the EHS Orchestra cruise slated for Spring Break has been cancelled based on CDC recommendations to limit travel to the Caribbean. Also, due to identified cases of COVID-19 in the community, Harvard University has cancelled the Undergraduate Economics Competition, which a number of EHS students were due to compete. All other EPS trips are being assessed based on destination and recommendations by the CDC. If a change in plans occurs, the affected students and families will be notified.

We also want to provide you with some additional resources and information.

Two Important Reminders:

  • The best way to keep coronavirus out of our schools and community is to practice good hygiene:
    • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Wash for 20 seconds, using soap and hot water. Be sure to also wash your fingertips.
    • Cover a cough. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
    • If children are feeling sick, please keep them home from school and activities. Allow them some time to feel better so they do not risk infecting others. Adults also should stay home if they feel unwell.
  • Coronavirus is not connected to race or ethnicity. It is important to remember that people who do not live in, have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the virus, or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, are not at greater risk of spreading COVID-19 than other Americans. Acts of exclusion and harassment do nothing to prevent viruses and other illnesses from spreading. Instead, such actions will impair our ability to work together as a community at a crucial time. Guard against making assumptions that are not based on facts.

Spring Break Travel

We have heard concerns about the travel of others during the upcoming Spring Break. School districts do not have the authority or the means to monitor the personal travel of students and families, or to restrict attendance at school as a result of travel.

However, we do request that families be aware of, and comply with, the recommendations of the CDC with regard to their travel plans, particularly to countries with Level 3 Travel Health Notices: Italy, South Korea, Iran and China. The CDC recommends a 14-day self-imposed quarantine immediately following travel to countries on the list. School districts do not have authority to impose or monitor quarantines for individual students or families but we ask that families follow these recommendations.

Influenza Season

The health status of students other than your own is private data that we cannot disclose. Remember -- we are still in the midst of influenza and cold season! Please do not jump to conclusions about the health of another student who exhibits symptoms of having a cold or the flu. Families should consult their primary physician if they have questions about any symptoms their own child exhibits. Keep students home from school if they are sick.

District Planning

EPS has a plan in place for district-declared e-Learning Days. We are revisiting the plan to ensure it can support an extended period of learning time, should that become necessary.

MDH is closely following the evolution of the coronavirus and information provided by the CDC. We, in turn, are closely following the information and recommendations MDH is providing to schools via weekly webinars and other messages. Members of the district leadership team are meeting routinely on this topic and making necessary preparations in case COVID-19 becomes prevalent in our community. The district will follow the recommendations of MDH and CDC when it comes to making decisions around closing schools or programs, and cancelling school-sanctioned trips.

We will continue to communicate with you and provide updates as new information becomes available and especially if we anticipate an impact on our schools, students or staff. Visit the Coronavirus Information page on the district website (in Health & Wellness section) for information, resources and an FAQ.

John Schultz