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March 12, 2020 1:30pm  From ISD 709 Superintendent Bill Gronseth

The situation regarding the coronavirus continues to evolve and is a top story in the news. People are concerned and wondering what will happen next as they hear about schools in other parts of the country closing, local universities extending their breaks and moving to online learning and entire countries under quarantine.

Right now we are in regular contact with the MN Dept of Health, CDC and the MN Department of Education and working on prevention and preparing for whatever may happen. School districts are taking their guidance from these three organizations.

We'll continue to communicate and respond to questions.  Please continue to look for information in these Weekly Briefings and ISD 709 News, social media, on our website, email and other ISD 709 communication venues.

We have plans and supplies for enhanced cleaning protocols as necessary. (Much like we did for H1N1 several years ago).

The need to close schools would be determined by the Minnesota Department of Health. We have been in conversation with the City and Fire Chief and will work together to meet the needs of families should we reach the level of extended school closures.

We don't currently have the technical capacity to provide extended online learning district-wide. Should an extended closure be necessary we, along with countless other school districts, would look to the MN Department of Education and the legislature for support and guidance.

Mn DOH and CDC both have guidance for schools on their websites— for schools with COVID19 exposure and those without. The links have been shared regularly as they provide the most up-to-date information.

Domestic travel has not been limited, however we are hearing about schools canceling out of state travel and large public events. We may need to consider doing the same as recommendations change.

While we've heard this many times, the best prevention remains regular and thorough hand washing, covering coughs & sneezes, and staying home when ill.

It's a challenge when things are changing and uncertain. Thanks for your support as we respond to this situation.