• These frequently asked questions will be updated often as we continue to hear from our community. In all of our work, we will prioritize the safety and wellbeing of students and staff and work to personalize learning for each student.

  • Can I switch to Heights from Home (distance learning) at any time?

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    Yes. A student can request a change to Heights from Home learning during the midst of the quarter however the transition may not be immediate because of the process of changing the placement.

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  • Are school start and end times changing?

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    The school start times will remain the same but the school day may end early. Principals will provide details to families.

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  • What is recess going to look like?

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    For recess, classrooms will individually schedule their time outside so that there is no more than one classroom on the equipment and limited classrooms on the field/hard surface at one time to ensure physical distancing. Students will be expected to wash their hands immediately before going to recess and when they come back inside. Staff will be present to assist in maintaining appropriate physical distance. Face masks will be required outside.

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  • Will after school and non-school day child care be available through Adventure Club?

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    Critical Child Care and Adventure Club will continue and support the adjusted schedule for students learning on-site. Students dually enrolled in Critical Child Care and Adventure Club will continue to attend Critical Care when they are not in their classroom for their on-site learning. Students who are not enrolled in Critical Child Care but are enrolled in Adventure Club for their on-site learning day, will begin care at 12:45pm only on their on-site learning day.

    Adventure Club begins at 2:20 p.m. for students who are not learning on-site (either because their grade band isn't yet on-site, because it is a specialist day for their grade or because they chose Heights from Home.)

    Families can register for Adventure Club online at www.colheights.k12.mn.us/ac 

    Mini Adventures fee-based child care for children ages 3-5 is also available from 6:30 am- 6pm at the Family Center.

    Childcare for Tier 1 essential workers will be available per Executive Order 20-82 at no cost during the school day for children up to age 12 when the district is operating in a hybrid model or distance learning stage.

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  • What is the plan for activities and athletics?

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    Columbia Heights Public Schools will resume in-person activities the week of Jan. 11. We recognize that activities are important to your child’s social, emotional and physical well-being. The District is committed to providing a safe environment and will follow Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota State High School League guidance. For more information and updates, visit colheights.k12.mn.us/Activities.

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  • How will full-time distance learning be different from spring 2020?

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    We heard from students and parents this spring that they would like to see/experience more “live,” real-time learning. In our planning for fall we are placing a greater emphasis on daily live instruction, and on small group learning.

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  • Does my student need to wear a mask or face covering?

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    Yes, the Governor’s Executive Order 20-81 mandates all Minnesotans wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and indoor businesses starting on July 25, 2020. 

    Face coverings are required for all PreK 4- Grade 12 students, staff, and other persons present in school buildings or district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles.

    Exemptions include: Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. For exemptions, work with the school administration. Doctor's note required.

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  • What are the requirements for face masks/face coverings?

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    Face masks are required indoors for students (ages 5 and above) and staff.

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  • What if a face mask cannot be worn for health reasons?

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    Please consult your building principal who will connect with the appropriate health leaders to determine acceptable alternatives.

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  • Will face coverings be provided? And for whom?

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    The District has provided masks to all students and staff, and all are able to wear their own mask if preferred.

    When on site, students are expected to wear a face covering. 


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  • Will the use of drinking fountains be allowed?

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    No, no one will be allowed to use the drinking foundation. Please send/bring a water bottle to school each day. ​Water bottle fill stations will be available to fill water bottles.

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  • Can my child wear a clear face shield instead of a cloth face mask?

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    The state mandate allows for alternative face coverings in certain situations including, but not limited to, when there is a medical or developmental reason to not wear a cloth mask. In these situations, parents should contact their school principal to request this accommodation.

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  • Will students take mask breaks?

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    Students may remove their mask to drink or eat.

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  • How will mask wearing be enforced on the bus?

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    Students are required to wear face masks/coverings on the bus. There will be information and training provided to students and bus drivers. At a minimum, bus drivers will provide a verbal reminder for students to wear their masks. Refusal to comply will result in a referral to school administration who will contact families and possibly suspend transportation privileges.

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  • What are you doing to enforce physical distancing requirements for the hybrid model?

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    - Students will be required to keep a distance of 3 feet from other students and 6 feet from staff, as much as possible (Students will be advised to social distance from other students and staff)
    - Entrances and exits may be modified as necessary to regulate traffic flow and access.
    - Hallways may be made one way to create traffic flow patterns that maximize physical distancing.
    - Classroom and school schedules will limit physical interactions beyond a student’s classroom and team.- Floor markings will reinforce physical distancing requirements in waiting areas.
    Safety signage throughout the building will reinforce protocols (hand washing, physical distancing.)
    Drinking water will be available through filling stations (water bottles to come from home) and single use cups; No drinking fountains will be available.

     

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  • Will schools be open to the general public/visitors?

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    No visitors will be allowed unless pre-approved by the building principal, site supervisor.

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  • What are the symptoms that would require someone to stay home?

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    Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, fatigue, ​congestion or loss of taste of smell. Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about symptoms.

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  • How will health screening be conducted?

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    Students/parents/guardians and staff are required to complete self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, fatigue, ​congestion or loss of taste of smell. Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If COVID-19 symptoms are present, the student/staff member should not come to school and inform the school.

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  • What happens if a student develops COVID-19 symptoms while at school?

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    The student will be sent to the health office where the school nurse will work with the District COVID-19 Coordinator and will use guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health to determine next steps, including if the student needs to be isolated and excluded from school. 

    If isolation is required, the student will go to the designated triage room, which is a designated  space in each school building, and continue to wear their face mask until a guardian is able to pick them up.

    Siblings will also be considered as a part of the screening process and may be subject to any need for isolation.

    The school will provide families resources and guidance regarding COVID-19 testing and the length of time the student will need to stay out of school.

    The family will work with the school nurse on any plans for the student to return.

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  • If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms while at school, where will they isolate?

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    Each school building has a designated triage room for isolating people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

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  • What happens if a student or staff members has symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19?

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    Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will need to continue to quarantine for 10 days and can return when fever free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducers) and symptoms improving.

    Those exposed to a positive COVID case are recommended to quarantine for 14 days, but if the student/staff gets a test at least five (5) FULL days after exposure and tests negative (shows results) with a PCR test AND has nosymptoms they can return to school on day 11 (day 0 being date of exposure). 
    If the student/staff lives with someone who has a positive COVID test, they are NOT eligible for a shortened quarantine.

     

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  • What if someone in my household shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19?

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    If someone in your household shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, you need to inform the school. School nurses will help you determine next steps.

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  • If a student is waiting for their COVID-19 test results can they come to school?

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    No. Students must remain out of school while they await test results. There is a minimum exclusion of 10 days. Families are not required to share test status or results with the school, however, they must follow self-isolation guidance. Students may only return to school after a minimum of 10 days AND symptoms are improving AND if they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. We will follow MDH guidance for “What to do While you Wait for a COVID-19 Test Result

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  • Who does not need to quarantine?

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    If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have close contact with someone with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following are true:

    • Your illness was confirmed with a positive lab test in the past 90 days.
    • You have fully recovered.
    • You do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.

    If someone has completed COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) and is exposed, they do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following are true:

    • The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
    • The COVID-19 exposure was within 90 days of their final dose of the vaccination series.
    • They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
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  • Will families be notified if a student in their class has tested positive?

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    We will partner with the Minnesota Department of Health in any situation where someone tests positive for COVID-19, and they will guide us on the notification process. Generally speaking, the school or district will communicate with any individuals/families of individuals who had contact with any positive case as recommended and directed by MDH.

    Notifications fall into two categories: notification of exposure to a positive case without close contact and notification of exposure and need for self-isolation based on the potential of close contact. The notifications would also include recommendations from MDH.

    Notifications depend on the breadth of exposure and interaction with others. Generally, the scope of communication will minimally be sent to:

    Elementary (PreK 4-grade 5) – Families of the entire classroom group; all staff that worked directly with the student or staff that tested positive and building and district leadership.

    Middle/High School: Families of the impacted learning team, families of other students that may have been in elective classes with the student of staff that tested positive; all staff that worked directly with the student or staff that tested positive and building and district leadership.

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  • What is the guidance regarding travel for students and staff?

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    The District is following guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and from the Center for Disease Control. For current recommendations regarding travel, visit the CDC website.

    Unvaccinated students who travel domestically out of the state of Minnesota are asked to notify their school of the travel plans and are required to quarantine from school for 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test taken 3-5 days after travel. If they do not get tested they must quarantine for 10 days. For questions, contact your child's school.

    Unvaccinated staff who travel domestically out of the state of Minnesota are requested to quarantine from school for 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test taken 3-5 days after travel. If the staff member does not get tested, they are asked to quarantine for 10 days. For questions, contact the Human Resource Department.

    Students and staff do NOT need to self-quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months if travelling domestically. Testing is recommended 3-5 days upon return. Vaccinated individuals should still follow all other travel recommendations.

    For more information about domestic and international travel please check the CDC website.

     

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