Rising positive cases of COVID-19 in Ramsey County
Good morning Roseville Area Schools community,
This week, the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) official numbers for positive case counts per 10,000 residents reached 31 in Ramsey County. State guidance in August placed a threshold of 30 cases per 10,000 residents as the point where secondary students would be required to learn exclusively from home. This development obviously puts into doubt our current plan to transition secondary students into blended learning in December.
Metro districts with secondary students attending in blended learning models are now facing an urgent decision on shifting back to distance learning. We are in active communication with the regional support team of experts from the MDH and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) who are providing guidance and consultation to schools across the state. Another aspect that we are seeking clarity on is when athletics and activities may be required to discontinue.
This week, school districts received communication from MDE that we must continue to work with their regional support team but should also consider local data to better understand how community rates of COVID-19 cases impact the local schools.
Most public health experts do not anticipate the numbers to go down, as we enter flu season and colder temperatures when people are more apt to congregate. The state's summer guidance stated that when county positive COVID-19 case rate reaches 50 per 10,000 residents, that would trigger full-distance learning for elementary students. While the county case rates are one of several factors we look at, they are an important indicator of the spread of the virus within our community.
We understand how important it is make decisions that will best meet the needs of our students, families and staff – their health and safety needs, their educational needs, and their social and emotional needs. While we seek additional guidance from the state, we ask that you continue to remember that we all need to be flexible and ready to adjust on short notice to the public health challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on us all.
Please stay tuned for additional information about our transition plans in the coming week.
Dr. Aldo Sicoli