March 12, 2020

Dear Families and Staff,

If you would like a translation of this letter, please click here and scroll to “Messages from EPS.” Select the message you want to view and use the Translate option at the top of the web page to read in your preferred language. If you have questions, please contact your Cultural Liaison.

Si quiere traducir esta carta haga clic aquí y vaya a “Messages from EPS”. Seleccione el mensaje que quiere ver y use la opción de traducción (Translate) en la parte superior de la pagina de internet para leerlo en su lenguaje de preferencia. Si tiene preguntas contacte por favor a su Enlace Cultural.

Hadii aad doonayso warqadan oo tarjuman, fadlan halkan deg-sii    kadib hoose u daadag si  si aad u argot “Fariimaha ka yimid EPS.”  Dooro fariinta aad rabto in aad aragtid kadib dooro qaybta tarjumaada ee qaybta kora ee hoga si aad u aqriso luuqada aad rabtid. Hadii aad su’aal qabto, fadlan la xiriir isku xirayaasha dhawamada ee Degamada.

We are committed to providing frequent updates and to respond to your questions and concerns around COVID-19. Know that our primary focus is to provide an engaging and inspiring academic experience for all of our students within a safe and healthy environment. We continue to closely monitor news and guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • A decision to close schools would be made in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education and MDH. As of the sending of this email, they are not currently recommending a change to school operations or schedules. 
  • As we have communicated before, the best preventative measures continue to be good hygiene:
    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Cover a cough
    • Avoid touching your face
    • If you or your child are sick, stay home

SCHOOL EVENTS

At this time, MDH has not recommended cancelling school gatherings or events. If we cancel one event at one school, the ripple effect will be that we have to cancel all events held at all schools, however:

  • Students and/or parents who are sick should not attend events at schools -- this includes parent-teacher conferences. If you are ill and cannot attend an upcoming conference, please contact your students’ teachers to set up a phone conference or some other alternative. NOTE:  Staff have been advised not to shake hands when they greet you for conferences -- but that does not mean they are any less happy to see you! Although smiles are contagious, they are also healthy and welcoming!
  • Families always have the option to not attend or participate in an event. You should make decisions that are best for your family. The district will continue to monitor developments and look to MDH for direction.

SCHOOL-SANCTIONED TRIPS

Decisions to cancel school-sanctioned trips are being made based on national advisories and developing situations in travel destinations. We have a list of all student trips requiring travel domestically and internationally, and any overnight stays.We are monitoring MDH, CDC and the U.S. State Department. To date, the following trips were cancelled:

  • EHS Orchestra Cruise to Caribbean - Clarification from previous message: this decision was based on U.S. State Department advisory to avoid cruise ships, not CDC recommendation against travel in the Caribbean
  • Undergraduate Economics Competitions 
  • EHS Choir Trip to NYC
  • EHS Gr. 9 Trip to Washington D.C.

We will continue to monitor the situation in the destinations where our students are scheduled to travel for learning and/or competition. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and we will notify participating families and students as soon as we become aware that plans may change.

Likewise, local day-long field trips will continue as planned unless a venue cancels or closes, or we receive guidance from MDH that recommends such trips be cancelled.

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL

We know many families and staff have plans to travel over Spring Break. We ask that everyone pay close attention to the travel alerts of key organizations:

  • The CDC has classified four countries as Level 3 Health Alerts: Italy, Iran, China and South Korea
  • The U.S. State Department has advised against travel on cruise ships, especially for persons with compromised immune systems

Also, please be aware of the fluidity of the situation. Additional countries could be added to the list at any time.

Students and staff who travel to a Level 3 country will not be able to return to school until they have complied with the CDC’s recommendation to self-quarantine for 14 days following the last day of travel. This includes any additional countries that may be added during your time abroad. The district will work with families to accommodate students who have been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider or a public health agency due to COVID-19.

Last night, the President announced travel restrictions from countries in the European Union. Although the extent and application of these restrictions remains uncertain as to how it applies to Americans travelling to the European Union. It is likely that the CDC and MDH will be recommending self-quarantine for persons who voluntarily travel to those locations. (See CDC Level 3 Warning to avoid non-essential travel to Europe.)

Also, no matter where or how you travel, if your student is sick in the days following your return, please keep them home from school and consult your family physician.

HANDWASHING AWARENESS

We are increasing awareness of handwashing with our students. Teachers have been asked to remind students to wash their hands before heading to the lunch room. Custodians are diligently checking soap dispensers to ensure they are full. (There are multiple dispensers in most bathrooms -- tell your kids to check another dispenser if one is empty!) We are also creating signage to post around bathrooms and the lunchroom that remind everyone to wash.

RACIAL PROFILING

We want to reiterate that there is no link between the coronavirus and race or ethnicity. There have been increasing incidents worldwide of xenophobia and racism targeting Asian Americans and Asian people. We have an increasingly diverse community within our schools and we welcome everyone! Acts of discrimination, exclusion, or harassment against any culture or group will not be tolerated in Edina Public Schools. Guard against making false assumptions.

FAMILY CARE

We are sensitive to the individual needs of families. If you have an elderly person who lives with you, or anyone in your home with a compromised immune system or fragile health, and you think it best to keep your student(s) home from school, please contact your principal.

BE INFORMED

We urge you to monitor your sources of information and be careful of the news you are consuming. Social media and hearsay are often inaccurate and lead to unnecessary anxiety and poor decision-making. Educate yourself on how the coronavirus is spread by referring to the official websites of organizations including MDH, CDC and WHO. And remember, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community at this point.

PLANNING AND PREPARATION

District leadership continues to meet regularly to plan for the possibility of an extended school closure. We are discussing all of the topics above in addition to questions and concerns we hear from families and staff and are working to respond to inquiries. If you do not hear back from us directly, please watch for the next district communication and check the FAQ on the Coronavirus Information web page. We promise to communicate often as the coronavirus situation evolves locally and nationally.

We are in uncharted territory, as you know. Every area and aspect of the district’s work is represented at our planning meetings and we are working to prepare for any eventuality as best we can. It may not be perfect, but you have our promise that if an extended school closure occurs, we will circle back when it is over to assess where gaps may have occurred. We are committed to the continuity of learning for all of our students and to complete this school year strong.

John Schultz
Superintendent