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RPS Summer 2021 COVID-19 Learning Plan
Rochester Public Schools

Effective Tuesday, June 8

The Minnesota Department of Education has directed School Districts to make plans for COVID-19 mitigation and response during Summer 2021 programs and services at the local level.

This plan establishes the mitigation expectations for Rochester Public Schools staff and students during Summer 2021, and may change as updated guidance becomes available.  

Program Design for Mitigation

Rochester Public Schools has designed its Summer 2021 programs to include several layers of mitigation, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and local medical experts. 

  • Small group sizes - indoor Summer of Discovery classes will be limited to cohorts of 15-20 people, allowing for sufficient physical distancing among participants and staff; child care, enrichment, and other activities will follow State guidelines for cohort sizes.
  • Extra time outside - participants and adults will spend some of their time outdoors where transmission risk is lower.
  • Respiratory etiquette - participants and staff are encouraged to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, use tissues and throw them away, and wash hands after touching nose or mouth.
  • Hand hygiene - participants and staff will have ready access to hand washing facilities and hand sanitizer, with information posted on correct hand washing techniques.
  • Spaced seating for meals - participants and staff will have sufficient space to physically distance during meals.
  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing - RPS will continue its enhanced attention to high touch surfaces and shared materials.
  • Ventilation - RPS will continue to maximize fresh air service to indoor classrooms.

Face Coverings

As vaccination uptake continues at a high level in Olmsted County, and community case numbers continue to decline, RPS will focus on the use of face coverings at age 11 and under, where vaccination is not yet available, and on buses, where the risk for loss of program access is the highest. The chart below shows where face coverings will be required for participants in RPS summer programs. 

Participants

Early Childhood

Elementary

Middle

High School/Adult

On Buses

As Able

Required

Required

Required

Indoors 

As Able

Required

Required for age 11 and under

Not Required

Outdoors 

Not Required

Not Required

Not Required

Not Required

Based on current guidance, RPS will not require face coverings for staff, but strongly recommends that those who are not fully vaccinated continue to protect themselves and others with a face covering. If State guidance or local COVID rates change, this requirement may change. 

Contact Tracing

If a positive case of COVID-19 is reported, the district’s COVID Facilitator will follow established MDH and Olmsted County protocols to identify any close contacts to the positive case and communicate with parents/guardians regarding any necessary quarantine. To make the contact tracing process possible, instructors will keep accurate attendance records and will maintain seating records for class time, meal times, and field trip bus rides. District COVID Team members will collaborate with County and State public health officials in case response and reporting.

Student and Staff COVID-19 Testing

Minnesota and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer no-barrier, at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for everyone who lives in Minnesota, with or without symptoms. You can read more about this service on the Minnesota Department of Health website. Information on local diagnostic testing is available on the Olmsted County Testing page. 

Vaccinations for School Age Students

Individuals age 12 and older are currently eligible for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. RPS has offered school-based vaccination clinics during the school year. As school releases, community sites continue to offer vaccinations to students age 12 and up. General information is available on the Olmsted County Vaccine page. The State of Minnesota Vaccine Locator tool allows searching by zip code, distance, age group, and more. 

Field Trips

All staff and students are required to wear face coverings on school buses. RPS protocols for face coverings indoors/outdoors and other mitigation measures are applicable on all field trips. All chaperones must follow RPS protocols. If a field trip destination has a stricter policy, RPS staff, additional chaperones, and students will follow those rules. 

In-Person Meetings

In-person meetings may resume as of June 8. Meeting organizers should select and arrange spaces to allow physical distancing. Sanitizing surfaces before meetings and between different users is strongly recommended. Staff who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a face covering, but may wear one if they choose. Organizers must keep a seating arrangement record of attendees and make that available in the event of a positive case investigation. 

Visitors

Visitors to district buildings are expected to follow State of Minnesota face covering rules and should minimize interaction with students unless their presence is critical to learning.