Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Red Lake Schools issues statement to families and staff of the district


March 16, 2020

March 14, 2020

Dear Red Lake Families and Staff,

In light of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Minnesota, I want to assure you that Red Lake Schools, Tribal leadership and administration have been working on a response plan in the event the coronavirus reaches our community.

There have been 21 positive tests among Minnesota residents out of about 868 Minnesotans tested as of March 14, 2020. The positive tests have occurred in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey Renville, Sterns and Wright counties.

Please monitor if your family members or yourself experience fever or repertory distress and respond accordingly. If you choose to keep your children home from school because they are displaying symptoms please call into their school and specifically leave a message of what symptoms they are displaying and how long they have been sick. This will allow us to track community health.

The district wants you to have information and resources so you can make good decisions and to keep your family healthy and safe. As a district we will put information out on the district website as we are provided with it. It is important to stay informed and to help all of us maintain normalcy as the situation continues to develop.

The Minnesota Departments of Health (MDH) and Education (MDE) collaboratively take the lead on decisions regarding school closures or other impacts on schools, in consultation with the Governor, that could result from outbreaks of contagious conditions. They monitor local and national health concerns and their connection with major health organizations means they have access to more relevant and up-to-date information than individual school districts do.

We are in the prevention stage of managing a potential outbreak of coronavirus and have standards and protocols already in place since this is also influenza season. The School District and the Tribe have been working on updating our Emergency Response Plan in response to the coronavirus. Our custodial staff is also working hard to keep our buildings safe and sanitary.

The first part of any Emergency Response Plan is Prevention and Preparation. The most important measures we can take to protect ourselves and our families from contagious conditions are the same preventative practices that we promote every year during cold and flu season:

 Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

 Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

 Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces. (The surface disinfectant cleaners used in our school buildings are effective against the family of viruses that includes coronavirus.)

 If you or your child are sick, stay home from school and activities.

 Do not return to school or work until you are feeling better and a fever is gone for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home. Keep enough food, regular prescription drugs, and other necessities on hand in case you need to stay home and are not able to go out easily.

I want to stress that, while we need to be preparing now for the potential that the virus may affect our school district, it has not happened yet. We do not need to panic. The School Board will meet in the next couple of days to formulate a more comprehensive plan that will be shared.

Be assured that we are currently following recommendations from MDE and MDH regarding preventing and tracking the coronavirus. I will continue to update you through the same channels we use when weather-related issues occur (email, text, phone, social media and websites).

Also, for your information, here are links from the World Health Organization and the CDC that provide valuable information on the coronavirus. Here is another link called Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource. This resource provides many important points on talking to your children about this health concern.

In addition, if you have questions about the coronavirus and Covid-19, you may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920. Together we can stay safe and healthy.

Melinda Crowley, Superintendent Red Lake Schools


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