Weekly Update

Duluth Public Schools News May 20, 2022

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear familes:

At times, leaders are called upon to make difficult decisions, based on what is needed, that we know will not be popular.

Beginning Monday, May 23, Duluth Public Schools will require all staff to wear a mask. Masks do not need to be worn while outdoors.

Based on consultation with county health officials, students are strongly urged to wear a mask while in school, though not required. Parents and community members attending events or visiting our district buildings are also strongly encouraged to wear masks.

Duluth Public Schools has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. Last week St. Louis County reached moderate community transmission levels and has elevated to high transmission Thursday.

In the Duluth area alone, the number of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 has nearly doubled from last week going from 45.77 to 80.22 per 10,000.

COVID-19 is spread mainly by inhaling respiratory droplets produced when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of masks to reduce the spread of these droplets, which is especially important to those who may be unaware they are COVID-19 positive.

There are a lot of student concerts and activities scheduled for these final weeks of school and by wearing masks we can make sure students get to enjoy their last few weeks of school and not miss out on any of these concerts or activities due to COVID-19.

Graduation for seniors is also coming up soon and by helping to slow the curve of COVID-19 cases now we can make sure our seniors can graduate in person without masks in every picture they take with their friends and family.

With deep gratitude and appreciation,


If you have questions or thoughts about what's going on in our school district, email:


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Americans can order additional free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests

It was announced Tuesday that COVIDTests.gov is now open for a third round of orders. U.S. households are now able to order an additional 8 free at-home tests at COVIDTests.gov.

The tests available for order:

  • Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR.
  • Can be taken anywhere.
  • Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required).
  • Work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Are also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OCT) tests.

You should take an at-home test:

  • If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
  • At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or
  • When you're going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk for severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.

You can also get a rapid antigen or PCR saliva test at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) for free Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Q & A with COVID Coordinator and school nurse Crystal Olker (formally Crystal Diehl)

Q: What should an individual do if they test positive 5 days or so after their initial positive test?

A: That individual can return to work/school after their 5-day isolation period as long as the criteria to return (isolation time, symptom improvement, and fever free for 24 hours without using medication) is met. If the criteria is not met, the individual should isolate for 10 days. Testing out of isolation (retesting on or around day 5) is not required by the district nor is it a recommendation from the MDH. Receiving a subsequent positive result during a current COVID illness doesn't tell the infectiousness of an individual as an individual may continue to test positive for up to 90 days, which is why the MDH did not include it in their guidance. The MDH recommends using the criteria the district is following.

With that being said, if an individual who has fully recovered from their COVID illness and is within the 90-day immunity window develops COVID-19-like symptoms again, they should test. If that result is positive, it should be treated as a new infection as they could have contracted a different strain.

Students should stay home if they are sick

For the safety of our students, staff and families, we ask that you please continue to screen your child daily for any symptoms of illness and keep them home if they are ill. COVID-19, Influenza, Strep Throat, Norovirus, and basic colds are still present in our community and affecting some of our students.

If your student is experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms, please keep your student home and test as soon as possible. Please review Duluth Public Schools district webpage for our current COVID-19 guidelines.

District COVID-19 numbers

These numbers reflect positive COVID-19 cases by site. The total includes all self-reported positive cases based on the date the case was reported to the school district. Not every person who reported a positive case was in a district building while contagious. These numbers include at-home COVID-19 test kits.

The CDC and Minnesota Department of Health only report positive cases where the person was inside a school building while infectious. The department’s numbers do not include positive cases determined by an at-home COVID-19 test kit.

They do this because there is not a medical professional present to:

  • Confirm who is taking the test,

  • That the home test has not expired,

  • That a proper sample is taken and more.

The CDC and Minnesota Department of Health is also reporting numbers that are at least a week old. If you have questions regarding these numbers, feel free to send your questions to covidquestions@isd709.org.

Detailed updates are available from the Minnesota Department of Health and St. Louis County Department of Health.

Minnesota Weekly COVID Report

Minnesota Situation Update

St. Louis County MN COVID-19 Dashboard

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Congdon Park Bike Rodeo a success at fun!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the bike rodeo a success. Students were able to practice bike safety rules on a safety course, practice mountain biking skills on an obstacle course, make bike crafts, have their bicycles tuned up by local bike mechanics, have their helmets properly fitted or receive a free helmet if they didn't have one.

Thank you Marshall Hardware for the bike donation, and to SkiHut and Continental for their raffle item donations, too! Thanks to all the other sponsors: Skihut, Duluth DEVO, Essentia Health, St. Luke's, AAA Auto of MN, SuperOne foods, YMCA bike fleet, Continental, Redhead MTB trails, The Rambler, K&B grilled cheese, City of Duluth, Duluth Police, Duluth Fire, Mayo Ambulance, Zeitgeist, Duluth East Key Club members, volunteers, and to the wonderful Congdon Park PTA. Thank you also to all who brought a food shelf item for CHUM. We were able to collect 444 pounds of non-perishable food items.

Safe riding everyone!

WDIO: https://www.wdio.com/duluth-minnesota-news/congdon-park-elementary-bike-rodeo/6474385/?fbclid=IwAR1raCJxzTx2k2oIcxbJ0mPReHkkFPMsz-r9UcCWRVnlzuODum42ffYmLEQ

Fox News: https://www.fox21online.com/2022/05/17/congdon-park-bike-rodeo-returns/?fbclid=IwAR2fAUVpnpzKoAG4b02b9xE_nbZDwGoQ1yjAYd5UqfUPhqByrBycEAhdekM

KBJR: https://www.kbjr6.com/2022/05/18/congdon-park-elementary-bike-rodeo-encourages-bike-safety-community-comradery/

Duluth East students sign National Letters of intent

Elly Rectenwald, Sophia Revoir, Cora Nephew, Bianca Lott, Cassie Bergman, and Ian Morse all participated in a signing ceremony to commit to their sport at their prospective colleges.

Fox21: https://www.fox21online.com/2022/05/18/six-duluth-east-greyhounds-sign-national-letters-of-intent

KBJR: https://www.kbjr6.com/2022/05/18/eight-student-athletes-commit-next-level-duluth-east

WDIO: https://www.wdio.com/sports/eight-athletes-sign-national-letters-of-intent-at-duluth-east

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NorShor Theatre’s latest production is helping local students learn about the Holocaust

From KBJR:

This spring Angela Pioro's students are reading true stories, pairing History and English classes.

“They learn in global studies about the Holocaust and World War II, and from that, it’s a great transition into the eighth-grade reading of Anne Frank,” said Pioro.

Most recently, her class read the play version of Anne Frank’s Diary.

Pioro wanted her students to experience Frank’s powerful words, so she helped arrange for 300 middle schoolers to take a trip to the theatre.

At NorShor Theatre hundreds of students are getting a better understanding of the world they’ve been reading about by seeing it onstage.

NorShor Theatre’s latest production is helping local students learn about the Holocaust (kbjr6.com)

Summer meals are available to all kids

Duluth Public Schools will be serving summer meals once again from June 20 through August 19. Meals will be available to all kids age 18 and younger at no cost. To eat, just show up.

Breakfast will be served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laura MacArthur Elementary, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lowell Elementary, Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Piedmont Elementary and Stowe Elementary.

If you have questions, please call 218-336-8707.

Four Duluth East students move on to Nationals for History Day

Four Duluth East students moving on to Nationals for History Day in June. Each of the students finished first in the state of Minnesota in their category and competed with over 1,200 entries at the secondary level.

The national competition will take place June 12-16 virtually.

Natalie Miller: 1st Place National Qualifier In the paper category: Women Strike for Peace: How 1960s American Mothers Used Diplomacy to End Atmospheric Nuclear Testing

Tavin Roth: 1st Place National Qualifier Individual Website: Diplomatic Cooperation Formed Through Debates: The Bretton Woods Conference

Grace Beaster & Martyn Dahl: 1st Place National Qualifier Group Exhibit: Using Diplomacy to Save Lives Worldwide: The Duluth Model

Denfeld High School Theatre presents "Romeo and Juliet"

The Denfeld High School Theatre will be preforming the Simon VanVactor-Lee adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" May 19-21 at 7 p.m. each day on the grounds of Denfeld High School. the suggested price is $10. Bring chairs for outdoor performances. In case of bad weather, the performance will be relocated inside.

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