Frequently Asked Questions

Brainerd Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff, and their families. We have developed a COVID-19 Response Plan for the 2021-22 school year. For more information, here are some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email covid@isd181.org.

About COVID-19

You can find up to date information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and how it spreads here: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/basics.html


Face Coverings

Brainerd Public Schools will require face coverings for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors (ages 2 and older) inside all district buildings, regardless of a person’s vaccine status beginning Monday, August 30, 2021. 

The decision to require face coverings was determined by this matrix and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommendations and is subject to change.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend that people, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated, continue to wear a well-fitted mask in some settings or situations. Other federal, state, or local laws may require masks, and businesses may set their own requirements.

It is important to wear a mask in some settings to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Viruses constantly change and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. New data suggests that the emerging Delta variant is different than past versions of the virus and spreads about twice as easily from one person to another. 

Because the Delta variant is shown to spread more easily, MDH recommends everyone, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a mask in the following situations:
  • Indoor businesses and public settings and crowded outdoor settings in areas with substantial or high transmission. Refer to the map on CDC COVID Data Tracker: COVID-19 Integrated County View to find community transmission levels in your county.
  • If you are immunocompromised or at an increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, consider wearing a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area. People who are at increased risk for severe disease include older adults and those who have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, overweight or obesity, and heart conditions. Immunocompromised people, even if fully vaccinated, should talk to their health care providers for other specific recommendations.
  • If you live or frequently interact with someone who is immunocompromised, not fully vaccinated, or at an increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, consider wearing a mask in indoor public or crowded outdoor settings regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • Where you are in settings that pose a high risk of COVID-19 spread or complications from COVID-19 infection, such as schools, health care settings, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities. 
When teachers, staff, and students consistently and correctly wear a mask, they protect others as well as themselves. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Indoors: CDC recommends indoor masking for all individuals age 2 years and older, including students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Outdoors: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people. Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised.

Exemptions from Face Coverings

Students may qualify for an exemption from wearing a face covering if they have a medical condition that prohibits them from wearing a face covering. A treating medical physician or mental health professional can write a letter to the school district explaining why the medical exemption is necessary.  The medical exemption letter should be submitted to the school nurse at your child’s school, and he/she will forward the exemption to the School District Nurse and it will be reviewed with District Administration.  District administration will notify the parent/guardian if the exemption is approved.
Some students with special education needs may also qualify for an exemption. The student’s IEP team would meet to identify why the exemption is necessary and this will be documented in the student’s Individual Education Plan.

When to Stay Home

Parents/guardians are asked to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day.  If your child has symptoms of COVID-19 keep them home from school and activities. (Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, fatigue, congestion or runny nose, or loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.)

If you think your child has COVID-19, please report it to Brainerd Public Schools by emailing: covid@isd181.org.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should stay at home (isolation) until all three of these things are true: 
  • They feel better. Their cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better; and,  
  • It has been at least 10 days since they first felt sick or tested positive: and,  
  • They have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fever.

Suspected or Confirmed Cases COVID

Staff and families should self-report to the school if they or their student have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test for COVID-19. Please report it to Brainerd Public Schools by emailing: covid@isd181.org.

All students and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19 or quarantined due to being positive or within a household of a positive COVID-19 case,  will be entered into the District COVID tracking system similar to the 2020-2021 School Year.  

All positive cases will be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health through the RedCap reporting system.  This reporting is required.

All students and staff that are entered into the COVID tracking system will be followed up by building and/or district level nursing staff or District administration to answer any questions or concerns and to provide guidance regarding quarantine guidelines and any additional mitigation strategies necessary.

Quarantine

Brainerd Public Schools has implemented a policy consistent with MDH guidance for identifying and communicating students and staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school. 
Students and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to stay home even if they have had a recent close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 as long as they are asymptomatic and do not test positive.

Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, who are masked and can maintain 3 feet of distance, may not have to quarantine if they have a recent close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.

All symptomatic individuals need to stay home from school regardless of vaccination status.

COVID Testing

MDH and MDE are recommending that schools have options for COVID-19 testing for students and staff. Last school year, Brainerd Public Schools had on-site testing available for staff and will continue with this option. We are exploring optional take-home and on-site COVID-19 testing for students. If provided, COVID-19 testing will not be required, rather it will be optional and only with parent consent.

Protect Yourself and Others

Here are recommendations from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) about the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html

Vaccination Availability

Vaccinations are available for walk-ins almost everywhere flu shots have been available:
  • Health Clinics - Essentia, CMRC, CentraCare, Lakewood
  • Walgreens
  • Cub
  • Costco
  • Thrifty White Drug
  • Guidepoint
  • Crow Wing County Public Health
  • Target
  • Walmart

Distance Learning Options for 2021-22 School Year 

Distance learning will not be an option this year. 

Student absences due to COVID-19 will be treated as excused absences for students. Parent/guardian, building administrators and teachers will work collaboratively to gather school work for student work missed during their absence.

Student Enrollment

Any questions regarding student enrollment, please contact our Welcome Center at 218-454-6900.

Transportation

It is a federal order that face coverings/masks must be worn on transportation including school buses. This will be in effect for transportation of students to and from school as well as during activities.

Drinking Fountains

The district will be turning water fountains in buildings back on. According to MDH, the risk of getting COVID-19 from touching a solid surface (like a water fountain button) is low, and COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water. Therefore, water fountains and bottle fillers can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions about COVID-19? Check out these Resources!

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/about-covid-19.html

Minnesota State COVID Resources
mn.gov/covid19/

Minnesota Department of Health School Guidance
www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/schoolrecs.pdf

Crow Wing County COVID Information
www.crowwing.us/1582/COVID-19-Coronavirus-Information

Tips and Resources for Children and Parents
www.health.state.mn.us/communities/mentalhealth/children
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