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Will school be closed or activities canceled due to COVID-19?

In accordance with direction given March 15 by the State of Minnesota, all Murray County Central Schools will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 27, 2020. This includes ECFE through grade 12. All buildings will be on lockdown to the public except for staff.  Children that will be utilizing provided childcare will also be allowed access after they are screened. As you know, this is a rapidly evolving situation; the current closure will be re-evaluated by March 27. We continue to follow the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

All before- and after-school activities are canceled beginning Tuesday, March 17. This includes but is not limited to: athletics; activities; driver's ed; Community Education enrichment, recreation, and clubs.

March 17-27-- As directed by the State, this will NOT be distance learning time. -- We are working on a plan to provide students access to meals, daycare and learning expectations. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Temporary Emergency Child Care

— Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27: Temporary Emergency Child Care will only be available at the MCC High School location, to emergency personnel staff and anyone who doesn’t have previous arrangements. You must complete the survey to enroll in requested child care.

CHILD CARE SURVEY

What about meals during school closure? — Grab-and-go meals will be available to all Murray County Central School District children age 1 - 18, beginning on Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 and continuing until all students return to normal schedules. Meals will be available for pick up at Central (in the bus lane) at 7:45 am-8:00 am and 12:00-12:15 pm. This is subject to change based upon need or demand. If pick up times do not work for your family, please contact your child's school to make arrangements. You must complete the survey to enroll in requested meal service.

MEAL SURVEY

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. Based on reports from places where it has circulated, COVID-19 presents a range of illnesses. While many cases may be mild to moderate with symptoms similar to colds and flu, some cases may be more severe. The risk of severe illness seems to be higher for older people and those with underlying health conditions. So far, very few children have fallen seriously ill due to COVID-19. Because this is a new virus, there are still things we do not know, such as how severe the illness can be, how well it is transmitted between people, and other features of the virus.

What is Murray County Central Schools doing about COVID-19?

— Cleaning & Disinfecting: The same cleaning strategies that we use to limit influenza transmission are effective in combating COVID-19. These include frequent disinfecting of surfaces and spray/mist sanitizer machines that we can use to quickly and safely sanitize classrooms on a regular schedule. Additionally, we are providing more supplies to all schools for more frequent classroom cleanings.

— At this time, Murray County Central Schools are on lockdown. Only district personnel and childcare students are allowed in buildings during school hours.

— We are limiting school visitors to essential business (example: IEP meetings, pre-arranged appointments).

— No facility use by outside user groups.

— As always, we are carefully monitoring student and staff attendance and are prepared to respond with guidance from the MDH if the absenteeism rate begins to climb outside the normal range.

Based on guidance from the MDH, the MDE, and the CDC for school districts, beginning Monday, March 16, Murray County Central Schools will be canceling the following indefinitely:

— All school-sponsored activities. This includes all activities/sports practices, Community Education activities, band and choir concerts, plays, etc. Decisions about Minnesota State High School League events are being made by MSHSL.

— All district related spring break trips both domestic and international are canceled or postponed until further notice.

At this time, no decision has been made regarding high school commencement. 

For additional details, please see the Murray County Central Pandemic Policy.

What about high school athletics?

— Decisions about Minnesota State High School League events are being made by MSHSL 

What about travel outside the country or outside the area?

We would ask that you limit outings with your children that require close contact and practice social distancing. We will keep you informed as the situation develops.

— School districts do not have the authority or the means to monitor the personal travel of students and families or to restrict school attendance as a result of travel.

— We request that families be aware of, and comply with, the recommendations of the CDC with regard to travel abroad, particularly to countries with Level 3 Travel Health Notices. If families choose to travel to countries on the list, the CDC recommends a 14-day self-imposed quarantine. School districts do not have authority to impose or monitor quarantines for individual students or families but request that families comply with these recommendations.

— As of March 12, all school sponsored travel planned for Spring Break has been canceled or postponed.

What actions should we take to protect our family?

The Minnesota Department of Health indicates that following these basic good health practices is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family:

— Make sure to cover coughs and sneezes.

— Encourage frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Model frequent hand washing in your home and workplace.

— Keep children home from school until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

— Stay home from work if you are sick.

— If you plan to go to the doctor with flu-like symptoms, please call ahead so the clinic can be prepared for your arrival.

Additionally, you may take this opportunity to review your family’s own emergency plans. Think about backup plans for child care if school is temporarily closed or if parents, children, or a child care provider is sick. Think about necessary items to have at home, including prescription medication (check your refill dates), and non-prescription medications, such as fever-reducing medications.

How do we talk with our children about COVID-19?

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has prepared guidance for parents to talk with their children about COVID-19.

Read the NASP guidance in English

Read the NASP guidance in Spanish

How does Murray County Central Schools stay up to date about COVID-19?

Student and staff health and safety is a top priority. We are monitoring developments closely and receive strong support from our partners at the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education. Murray County Central Schools is following the guidance of these and other state agencies. We are also receiving updates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure our school district has the latest information. Superintendent Joe Meyer and the District’s COVID-19 crisis management team participates in a daily updates for schools solely about the virus and the information most valuable to schools.

What else should I know?

— At this point, the CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks as a preventive measure for the general public. Facemasks are typically used in clinical settings to prevent the spread of diseases from ill patients to health care workers who are in close contact with them. 

— There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19; however, research is underway.

Further Questions

If you have questions about infectious diseases, please call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651 201-5414.

If you have questions about Murray County Central Schools’ preparation for COVID-19, please contact the Office of the Superintendent at (507) 836-6575.

Additional Resources:

Minnesota Department of Health resources:

— In English: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/basics.pdf

— In Spanish: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/basicsspanish.pdf

Minnesota Department of Health:https://www.health.state.mn.us/index.html

Minnesota Department of Health Prepare and Protect for COVID-19:

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Family Emergency Preparedness:

https://www.ready.gov/

Previous Messages Sent to Families:

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