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SoWashCo Schools Updates Plans for Fall 2021

Dear South Washington County Schools Community,

It’s hard to believe that we are entering our third school year impacted by the pandemic. Our teachers, principals and support staff are busy preparing for the return of students. There is definitely a sense of excitement with the opportunities of reconnecting with students at school and in-person five days a week.  

Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains unpredictable. The recent increase in cases in Washington County requires us to make adjustments to the health and safety plans that were shared on July 6. 

Please review the updated fall plans for face coverings, quarantines and more at sowashco.org/fall2021.

In consultation with public health officials and our school leaders, we will require face coverings for all people in a school setting (age 2 and above through grade 8) including staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status beginning Aug. 23. All staff, students and visitors to high schools (9-12+) are strongly recommended to wear a face covering. The changes to our fall plans are based on the best information we have available from local public health officials. The school board will take formal action on these safety procedures at its next regular school board meeting on Aug. 26. 

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both recommended that schools take this step. Last year, we saw the use of face coverings having a direct impact on limiting the spread of the virus and other illnesses in our schools. We anticipate the use of face coverings will play a larger role this year, as students return to schools at 100% capacity. 

We will continue to monitor the latest health information with expectations to phase out face covering requirements as students under the age of 12 become eligible for a vaccine and transmission rates decrease. I hope that we can work together as we welcome students back to a new school year. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Julie Nielsen Signature

Julie Nielsen
Superintendent