2021-22 School Year Updates

Back to School Plan

Updated 8/20/21

Cretin-Derham Hall is eagerly awaiting the start of the 2021-2022 school year and the return of all students on campus five days a week. More information is coming, but we want to address COVID issues specifically in this note.

The health and safety of our students and staff remain our top priority. We are aware there are many questions about how schools will reopen safely this year, and we have taken significant information under consideration as we begin our school year. Our updated COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-22 school year reflect the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

We are also committed to establishing a structure that supports in-person learning while ensuring the safest environment for learning as possible. This plan will be flexible and updated as we review protocols on a monthly basis.

Thank you for your patience. We tried to make a decision about our mitigation efforts with the latest and most current guidance given the changing nature of recommendations over the past month. 

Vaccines

All students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. This is the number one way to protect ourselves and our community. Vaccines are free and widely available. Anyone getting the vaccine before August 22 is eligible for $100 from the State of Minnesota! Visit Roll Up Your Sleeves, Minnesota for the most up-to-date information on the vaccine incentive program and convenient links to schedule your vaccine. 

Please note, no one is considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving the Johnson and Johnson shot, or two weeks after receiving the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna. Being fully vaccinated will be important in some situations, especially in regard to requirements surrounding quarantine or participation in select off-campus activities, such as service sites. More information on these circumstances will be coming the first week of school.

Masking

To ensure our community’s health, CDH will require masks indoors on campus, effective Friday, August 27. Masking minimizes the risk of transmission of the virus, for everyone, whether vaccinated or not. 

This will include all faculty, staff,and students, as well as visitors.

  • Masks are to be worn over both the nose and mouth.

  • Masking is required except for when eating or drinking.

We are committed to giving students a more regular school-day experience. One of our overarching goals is to keep students in school with in-person learning; masking protects many students from quarantine requirements if/when they are exposed. CDH will follow current MDH guidelines stating that both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, in the classroom setting, are exempt from quarantine if both students are correctly wearing well-fitting masks at the time of exposure. 

This quarantine exception for those in masks is a significant difference from last year and will allow uninterrupted in-person learning for most students with masking in place.  

Health Screening 

If your child is exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, do not send them to school, even if they are fully vaccinated.   

Symptoms of COVID include: 

  • Fever greater than or equal to 100.4 F

  • New onset or worsening cough

  • Difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or small - or- 

  • At least two of the following:

    • Sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new onset of headache, new onset of nasal congestion or runny nose.

If an unvaccinated person is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms above, a negative. COVID test is required before returning to school. It is also recommended that vaccinated people experiencing COVID symptoms take a COVID test.

Contact Tracing and Quarantine

CDH will follow the MDH Decision-Making Tree which provides the most up-to-date protocols and best practices based on variants and local rates of infections.

Parents must alert the CDH COVID Coordinator, Katie Carroll if a student has a positive case of COVID, or if they have been exposed to a known positive COVID case, whether they have symptoms or not. Parents must also alert the school if the student is un-vaccinated and any member of their household has a positive diagnosis of COVID.  

A student can return to school following a positive diagnosis 10 days after their first symptoms or positive COVID test, and they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

Unvaccinated students who are un-masked when exposed to a positive case, on campus or off campus, will be required to quarantine for seven days and produce a negative COVID test before returning to school. 

If masked, most students will not be required to quarantine upon exposure, unless they become symptomatic. 

Of special note: CDH students will not have a remote learning option this year. Students will not have access to the teacher and class via Zoom or other technology when absent.  There will be no synchronous learning so students will have to complete their work as independent study. A student on quarantine due to COVID exposure will be considered an excused absence.   

Monitoring and Adjustment to Protocols

CDH COVID Coordinator Katie Carroll and School Nurse Tara Kaup continue to monitor all guidance regarding spread, risk and COVID protocols. The protocols that are in place at the beginning of the school year will likely change as the COVID situation changes. Here is the most recent Minnesota Department of Health recommendation for schools (7/28/21).

At the end of each month, CDH will review our school’s COVID protocols, with attention to our local, state and national guidance surrounding schools and COVID. Once the situation improves, CDH will update this protocol. It is our sincere hope that these mitigation measures, such as masking, will become less necessary as the COVID situation improves.

Again, thank you for your support as we launch the school year with these structures in place to protect the health and safety of our community and to maintain in-person learning.  We want you to have this information as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact our COVID Coordinator, Katie Carroll, by email or by calling 651-696-3325.