ISD 709 News 1/7/22

From Superintendent John Magas

Dear Families:

Welcome to 2022, I hope you had a chance to rest and recharge from winter break. I want to thank you all for continuing to support our students, staff and each other during these challenging times. I am so grateful to the wonderful community we have in our schools and in our city.

We have important updates we would like to share, please see below. Wishing you a great start to the New Year!


John Magas

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


New Guidance from the CDC

Last week the CDC announced new guidance in regards to the COVID isolation and quarantine period. In consultation with St. Louis County Public Health, ISD709 Duluth Public Schools has reviewed this guidance and will implement the following procedures starting Friday, January 7th, 2022. The guidance is as follows:

Isolation following POSITIVE COVID-19 RESULTS

Isolate for 5 days, returning on day 6, if the positive individual wears a well fitting mask, the individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved.

If the positive individual cannot wear a well fitting mask or continues to have a fever or other symptoms that have not improved after 5 days of isolation. The individual will isolate for 10 days, returning on day 11.

The start date, Day 0 is the day symptoms started or the day of positive test, if no symptoms.

Optional- Testing after positive COVID-19 result:

If the individual has access to a test and wants to test toward end of their 5 day isolation period:

Positive test- continue to isolate through day 10

Negative test- end isolation

Students that are currently on a 10 Day quarantine. should contact their school's nurse. If they are A-systematic and beyond their 5 Day period. Staff who are currently on a 10 Day quarantine, should follow the new guidance and consult the Districts COVID Coordinator.

Close Contact Exposure to COVID-19

Wear a well fitting mask for 10 days from the last date of exposure to the individual who tested positive for COVID-19

Monitor for symptoms for 10 days. If symptoms develop, stay home and be tested. Return to school/work once a negative test result is received. If a positive test result is received, isolate for 5 days from the start of symptoms.

Testing for COVID-19 is recommended regardless of symptoms 5 days after exposure

No quarantine required if:

  • Individuals are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.

  • Individuals are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Individuals had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (tested positive using a viral test).

  • In the K-12 indoor classroom setting:

    • If both the infected individual and the exposed individual correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

Quarantine for 5 days (Day 0 is date of exposure) if:

  • You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccines, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.

  • You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.

  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

Quarantine for 10 days (Day 0 is date of exposure) if:

  • You are unable to wear a mask

Household Contact

  • If a household member has tested positive for COVID-19, unvaccinated household contacts and those in the household who have not received the recommended vaccine doses must stay home and quarantine during the positive person’s 5 day isolation period.

  • The quarantine period for the unvaccinated household contacts and those in the household who have not received the recommended vaccine doses will extend past the 5 day isolation period for an additional 5 days (total quarantine period is 10 days, returning on day 11).

  • If symptoms develop anytime during the quarantine period, the household contact should be tested for COVID-19. A negative COVID-19 test will not shorten the quarantine period. Positive test results must be reported to the school health office.

  • Household contacts who have received the recommended vaccine doses do not need to quarantine unless symptoms develop. If symptoms develop, the household contact must stay home and be tested for COVID-19.

If an individual has recently tested positive for COVID-19, the return to school or work date may be affected. The date the individual may be able to return to school or work may be sooner as long as the following are true:

  • The individual wears a well fitting mask

  • The individual is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication

  • Other symptoms have improved

Please contact your school health office prior to returning to school or work for an updated return date, if needed.

Potential Exposure Notification Change

With a high level of COVID-19 in our community, there is a risk of being exposed to COVID-19 everyday both at school and in the community. Because of this risk, we are asking that all staff and students consider themselves exposed to COVID-19 daily; therefore, we will no longer be sending potential exposure notification letters to staff and families when there is a positive case in a building. Please continue to monitor for COVID-19 like symptoms daily, stay home when you are sick, test for COVID-19, get vaccinated, and wear a mask.

Duluth Preschool Nature Playscapes Honored

ISD 709 Duluth Preschool was honored by the Duluth School Board in December for creating Nature Playscapes at three elementary schools: Myers-Wilkins, Piedmont and Laura MacArthur.

Created using grant dollars and with help from 3 Owls Outdoor Play consultants, these innovative, engaging play spaces will increase outdoor opportunities for Duluth preschool students in neighborhoods with less access to green spaces. Playscapes are landscape features that allow kids to play creatively with natural materials such as sand, water, hills, and logs.

Photo: John Magas, Superintendent; Sherry Williams, Duluth Early Childhood Services Coordinator/Head Start Director; Becky Gamache, Education Coordinator; Anthony Bonds, Assistant Superintendent.


State Energy Assistance Program

The Energy Assistance Program helps pay for home heating and water costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. Find more information on the Energy Assistance Program website.

We Need Substitutes!

Make a difference by becoming a Duluth Public Schools substitute, our schools need you.

Licensed and non-licensed, a variety of areas.

Current Job Openings

Questions? Email: noncerthr@isd709.org or call (218) 336-8722

Duluth Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer.

In The News

Lester Park Students Bring Cheer to Residents of Ecumen Lakeshore and Diamond Willow

Lester Park Elementary students conducted the 19th Annual Giving Tree Project, spreading cheer by purchasing, decorating and donating small trees and providing gifts to residents of Ecumen Lakeshore and Diamond Willow Assisted Living over the holidays.

Children brought donations they earned at home or happened to have in their piggy banks to purchase artificial trees and make decorations in their classrooms during the weeks leading up to the delivery date.

The children collected over $2,702 for the project this year, a new record!

The Giving Tree Project began over 19 years ago with a young boy’s desire to give back to the nurses and doctors who helped save his little brother’s life after he was severely burned. It was his personal “giving” project to provide cheer to people in hospitals over the holidays.



Duluth News Tribune


Ordean East Students Explore Sioux Chef Recipes

Students from Ordean East Middle School FACS classes spent time cooking recipes from The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen cookbook, by Sean Sherman. Mr. Sherman is an Oglala Lakota chef who was born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and is currently based in South Minneapolis.

Thank you, Glenn D'Amour, for the photos and info.



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Duluth East Student Athletes Give Back to Community

From the Duluth East HS Greyhound Hockey Facebook Page:

Despite the snow, some of our Greyhounds ventured out to the Portman Hockey rinks to skate with kids in the youth hockey program. 2 hours of skating, fun, laughs, and good food…we think fun was had by all! Check out the snow piles on the ice!

This is a great opportunity for the HS boys to be role models to the youth in our hockey community! And it’s fun to go back to the outdoor rinks of Duluth where the love of hockey started for the boys and still exists for many. Once again, the uniqueness of Duluth’s outdoor youth hockey shines through with the boys recalling many favorite memories.

#community #portmanhockey #DuluthEast #greyhoundhockey #GoHounds #BuildingRoleModels #givingbacktotherinks #fortheloveofthegame


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