In our district, we are continually monitoring the impact of both influenza and COVID-19 on our students and staff. We update our protocols as necessary in order to keep everyone healthy and safe, with a goal of keeping students learning in person. In the last week, we have seen a rise in the number of influenza-like illness symptoms and COVID-19 cases reported, leading us to implement the next mitigation step.
Beginning Wednesday, January 12, we will return to universal masking inside all Owatonna Public Schools buildings during the school day, regardless of vaccination status, for a two-week period of time with the final date of Wednesday, January 26.
We also ask that spectators at our school activities and events wear a mask during this two-week period in an attempt to keep our teams competing and performing while limiting any interruptions to their respective seasons.
Please check this webpage frequently for any updates and closely follow health and safety protocols, which is our best method of limiting the spread of disease.
January 21, 2022*
% of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases at School Sites:
|Owatonna Middle School||2.7%|
|Owatonna High School||1.2%|
Total staff absent due to illness: 91
Staff and students out due to influenza-like/COVID-like illness: 338
*numbers are from the previous day
COVID-19 Basic Principles:
Social distancing, wearing face coverings/masks, washing hands and cleaning protocols have been important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When a positive case is reported, families and staff are notified by the school district, MDH or both with information on next steps.
- Sick students, teachers and staff should not come to school.
- Enforce regular handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect and clean daily: schools and highly used objects and surfaces
- Social distancing
- Wear cloth face coverings as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health/Minnesota Department of Education and your local leadership.
COVID At-Home Tests for Students
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have given districts and schools the flexibility to develop a COVID-19 testing plan that fits our school community. BinaxNOW OTS At-Home Tests are available at the schools for symptomatic students to use at home. BinaxNOW Over-the-Counter (OTC) At-Home test is an individual, diagnostic, rapid antigen COVID-19 test recommended for symptomatic students that utilizes a nasal swab. Results are available within 15 minutes of processing. This out-of-school testing program is intended to provide quick access to testing if a student develops symptoms and to help prevent further spread.
If students experience any symptoms before they come to school or participate in an extracurricular activity, they should stay home and use the test provided by the school district, or get a test from one of Minnesota's free community testing sites, or through their health care provider.
More information about the tests available through the school district can be found in the November 2021 e-newsletter.
Stay informed about current COVID-19 information:
Our district leadership team has carefully mapped out safety procedures, sanitizing and disinfection processes, social distancing protocols, teaching and learning tools, transportation planning, protective equipment for staff and students, food service protocols, technology needs, and most importantly how we will continue to build relationships with students and families. All of this planning was coupled with the feedback collected from many parents, students and staff members regarding our plans and how this may impact them.
Our safe learning plan will:
- Prioritize the safety of students and staff
- Prioritize in-person learning, especially for younger learners
- Consider infectiousness and transmission risk among different ages
Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding as we work to provide Owatonna students with the best - and safest - education possible.
Please note, this information is based on Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines. Guidelines can and do change frequently (length of time for close contact*, for example) and specific details of a concern/situation/positive result will be examined by MDH on a case by case basis as they arise. District protocol may also be adjusted as MDH and CDC update their guidelines.
*Close contact is currently defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset.