Bluejacket Family Update
September 10, 2021
A Message from Superintendent Rudolph
What a week we have had! It is so exciting to have our students back in school! Your children bring us great joy! And although we experienced some challenges, working with Bluejacket students and families makes it all worth it.
Tomorrow, Saturday, marks 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It’s hard to reconcile in our minds that the children in schools today were not yet born on that tragic day. A generationally defining moment that so many parents and staff will reflect on — it forever remains in our memories. We remember the patriotic sense of unity and resolve that followed.
This year, as we fight to emerge from an ongoing pandemic and our children reflect on their own generationally defining year, we might share stories of resemblance. We look to the heroes—first responders, healthcare workers, National Guard, police and firefighters—and find solace. And teachers, school staff, pastors and community leaders help us to learn and grow through challenging times. Our communities come together to find strength in one another for a brighter future.
This week, we’ve had more than a few challenges, but when put in perspective of the last 20 years, it's humbling. We can find gratitude today in the hard work of colleagues, the kindness of neighbors and the laughter of children—and somehow we can trust it will all work out.
We appreciate your patience and understanding this week with transportation. We know it has been disruptive. And we promise to continue to get better every day. If you know friendly, positive, and kind people who are good drivers, please encourage them to apply. We will assist with training and licensing. If your child rides the bus, please be sure to read important updates on transportation contingency planning below.
These first few weeks of school are critical for building strong relationships with students and staff. It’s The Bluejacket Way!
Are you receiving our text messages?
When time is short and we have to get an urgent message to families, we use text messages and voicemail, in addition to email. If you have not received a text message, that means your contact information in Skyward Family Access may not be complete.
Log into Skyward Family Access.
Under the Student Info tab, request changes to family contact information.
To opt-into texting (SMS), please add or edit your cell or text number in the THIRD phone field. Text messages will only be sent to the THIRD phone number. If your primary number and mobile number are the same, please put the number in both the #1 and #3 phone spots.
Transportation Contingency Plans
This week, a driver was absent and we had no one available to cover the route. We had to notify families early in the morning and implement our contingency plan. We are asking all families to plan for this scenario, in the event your route is impacted. We would run the route after other routes are completed.
Families will receive a call-text and email before 7 a.m.
If families can provide their own transportation or carpool, they will be encouraged to do so.
Primary and intermediate students will be picked up 3 hours later than their scheduled time, after other routes are completed.
Middle and high school students will be picked up 2 hours later than their scheduled time, after other routes are completed.
Masking on Buses
Student & Staff COVID-19 Testing Program - For Individuals not Experiencing Symptoms
The Minnesota Department of Health has continued to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 testing in slowing the spread. As a result, MDH is collaborating with school districts to offer access to testing kits for students in all school buildings. This is optional.
At the elementary level (PreK-grade 5): Tests will be available for a parent/guardian to pick up in the nurse's office on Mondays during office hours. The student would then complete a Zoom enabled visit with Vault Health to take the test. The parent/guardian would then return the test to the nurses office the next day (Tuesday) by 12:30pm.
At the secondary level (grade 6-grade 12+): Tests will be available for parent/guardian or students to pick up in the nurse's office on Mondays during office hours. If the student is picking up a test, they must have a written note from the parent requesting the test. The student would then complete a Zoom enabled visit with Vault Health to take the test. The parent/guardian or student would then return the test to the nurses office the next day (Tuesday) by 12:30pm.
As a district, we do need to follow a tight schedule to ensure tests are completed and returned on the time schedule provided by MDH. All test kits will be picked up at the nurses offices on Tuesdays and sent to the lab for processing.
This optional testing opportunity will be offered every week for students and staff. The school is not notified of the results so if a staff member or a student receives a positive result, the staff member or parent/guardian must notify the school nurse.
Note: If you are unable to pick up a test, you are able to access the statewide testing program that provides free test kits to your home. Minnesota and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for everyone who lives in Minnesota, with or without symptoms, at no cost. Typically Vault saliva test kits ship within a day of receiving the order. Note that shipping and delivery does not happen on Sundays or holidays.
This optional testing is only for asymptomatic staff and students. If staff or students are experiencing symptoms they should remain at home and access COVID-19 testing through their clinic or other community testing option.
Student COVID-19 Testing Program - For Students Experiencing Symptoms
As part of the school testing program, the Minnesota Department of Health is working with schools to access rapid tests that can be used for symptomatic students. This is optional. Students would only be tested with consent from their parents/guardians.
If a student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, then the school nurse will offer the option of a rapid test to the parent/guardian. If the parent/guardian consents to testing, the test will be administered and the school nurse will call with results and explain isolation (and quarantine for family members) or return to school plan as appropriate. If the parent/guardian declines the test, they are able to pick up their student who is ill and the student must remain home until symptoms have improved.
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Overview
In August, the district formed a COVID-19 Response Committee (CRC) to discuss and review guidance and district case data related to COVID-19. This team is composed of representatives from Cambridge-Isanti Schools and Isanti County Public Health. The committee will continue to monitor data and guidance in order to respond to transmission rates within the school community. Various layered mitigation strategies will be utilized to ensure that students experience an in-person learning model as much as possible throughout the school year.
The COVID Response Committee will consider district data, including positive staff/student cases, cases by location, transmission rates, absenteeism, etc., when implementing new mitigation strategies or learning model changes. The committee has developed an approach, based on data, to implement layered strategies for a cohort (i.e. classroom, program, activity, grade level) or building with increased transmission rates which may include recommended or required quarantine for a short period of time, required masking for a short period of time, changes to distancing guidelines, changes to movement within building and activities (i.e. use of a secondary lunchroom or grouping students in cohorts for recess), and temporary shifts in learning models.