homeLogo enroll facebook twitter instagram linkedin youtube
staff login
Health and Safety
In This Section

Health and Safety

Health and Safety

On This Page

2022-23 COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Español   Hmoob   Soomaali

Table of Contents

Overview and Engagement in Planning

Minneapolis Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and students. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our schools and buildings, including contract alternative sites. Reaching this goal requires full cooperation from all staff, volunteers and visitors. We have developed extensive COVID- 19 guidance for all staff, students, visitors, and community partners. This guidance has been updated over time to reflect current experiences and guidance from national, state and local health officials.  

Staff are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this Preparedness Response Plan. Our employees are our most important assets. We are serious about health, safety and keeping our staff engaged with student learning at Minneapolis Public Schools. Staff feedback is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.  

We have involved the MFT Teacher Chapter through the Environmental Health & Safety Labor Management Committee in developing this plan, through committee meetings, COVID case data and input and feedback received from the employees and their unions over the past two years of the pandemic. We’ve also incorporated expert advice from the Minneapolis Health Department and the Minnesota Department of Health and aligned to current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The information, feedback and data gathered was compiled and reviewed by the Environmental Health & Safety Labor Management Committee. This information was used to update MPS’s COVID 19 Preparedness Response Plan. Our Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and addresses: 

  • hygiene and preventing respiratory transmission; 
  • engineering and administrative controls for social distancing; 
  • ventilation; 
  • housekeeping – cleaning, disinfection and decontamination; 
  • prompt identification and isolation of sick persons; 
  • communications and training that will be provided to managers and staff; and 
  • management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the plan. 

Screening and Policies for Staff, Students and Families Exhibiting Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

Staff and families have been informed of and encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following policies and procedures are being maintained for staff and student self-assessment of their health status prior to entering the workplace and for staff to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms.  

  • Minneapolis Public Schools has set up a designated COVID-19 intranet site for all staff. The COVID-19 intranet site has been communicated with access instructions to all staff: COVID-19 Health & Safety: Staff Resources (MPS staff login required). The COVID-19 employee intranet site encourages all staff to self-monitor and provides self-monitor instructions along with instructions to stay home or leave work right away if any employees are feeling ill including showing any symptoms of COVID-19. The site also has a designated COVID-19 phone number for staff to report and discuss their COVID-19 symptoms with a nurse and instructions on how to report a staff’s compensation related claim.  

  • Minneapolis Public Schools provides posters at each location to all staff to self-monitor every day, do not come into work or leave work if you are showing any COVID-19 symptoms.  

  • The COVID-19 Program Coordinator contact information is to be posted at each site. 

  • Minneapolis Public Schools has set up a designated COVID-19 web page on our public web site (this page). The COVID-19 web page has been communicated to all families via the district’s Family Update Newsletter. The COVID-19 public web page encourages families to self-monitor their students and provides self-monitor instructions along with instructions to stay home or leave school right away if any students are feeling ill including showing any symptoms of COVID-19. Posters with simple graphics in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish are available online and in PDF form to share with families.  

  • Minneapolis Public Schools provides posters at each location to all public entering district buildings to self-monitor every day, do not come into work or leave work if you are showing any COVID symptoms.  

  • Minneapolis Public Schools expects staff to stay at home when they are sick, when CDC/MDH guidelines indicate they should isolate or take precautions; or as directed by a health care provider. Accommodations and/or leaves for staff with underlying medical conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions have been implemented.  

  • Minneapolis Public Schools will only communicate the identity of any employee that has tested positive for COVID-19 or any other health status or health information during the communication or contact tracing process to the appropriate public health officials as required by law. MPS will not communicate the identity of any employee or student that has tested positive for COVID-19 to other staff and families, unless it is required for a staff person to perform their duties.

Testing

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is continuing to partner with schools to offer testing supplies for students and staff, and encourages voluntary testing according to current MDH guidelines

Positive tests reported to MPS will be reported to local and state health departments as required by MN Rule 4605.7070. MPS will continue to report positive cases on the COVID-19 Dashboard.  

MPS will continue to provide staff and students with free nasal swab viral tests for required and voluntary testing, through the 2022-23 school year.  

Minneapolis Public Schools currently requires non-vaccinated staff to test regularly for COVID-19 according to current public health guidelines. Non-vaccinated staff are asked to test weekly during student contact weeks.

Vaccinations

Minneapolis Public Schools will continue to promote vaccinations by continuing to provide staff and families with information about where to find COVID-19 vaccinations, regular reminders about staying up to date on vaccinations and boosters, and hosting vaccine clinics where the demand and resources indicate this is a useful strategy. Staying up to date on routine vaccinations is essential to prevent illness from many different infections. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease. For COVID-19, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease per the CDC. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, communities, and individuals who are not vaccinated or may not develop a strong immune response from the vaccines.

Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19

Minneapolis Public Schools is working with the Minneapolis Health Department, and the Minnesota Department of Health to determine what health practices are appropriate at each stage of the pandemic following CDC and/or MDH guidelines, unless local health authorities recommend more stringent guidelines based on current risk and evidence. Should the CDC Risk level for Hennepin County exceed Low Risk, additional mitigations may be put in place until risk levels decline. 

Healthy Personal Hygiene

Handwashing

Basic infection prevention measures are implemented in our schools and buildings. Staff and students are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, especially prior to and after mealtimes/snacks and after using the toilet, after recess and assisting students or other staff with meals, toileting and other activities. Hand-sanitizer and hand sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) are available in frequent locations in all buildings. Hand sanitizer can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water, as long as hands are not visibly soiled. 

Minneapolis Public Schools follows all of the CDC and OSHA recommendations on handwashing and sanitation for all staff. Minneapolis Public Schools will disburse hand sanitizing stations to various locations. Each department and school will have their own handwashing and sanitation best practices that will address their specified location and best practices for their staff. These best practices are to be documented by each site and kept on file. 

Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your cough or sneeze

Staff, students and visitors are being instructed to cover their mouths and noses with their sleeves or tissues when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their faces – in particular their mouths, noses and eyes – with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all staff and visitors. Minneapolis Public Schools has a COVID-19 intranet site providing instructions on following the CDC guidelines on covering your cough or sneeze. In addition, to avoid touching your face and perform frequent hand washing. Minneapolis Public Schools does have reminder posters at location sites as well.

Masks and Face Coverings

All students and staff are welcome to wear masks at any time.  MPS will continue to provide masks, as needed, for students and adults. 

MPS will use the CDC’s "Community Levels" to determine masking protocols. Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.  At a high COVID-19 Community Level, universal indoor masking in schools and ECE programs is recommended, as it is in the community at-large. If the CDC Community Level goes to high, MPS will meet and confer with the Environmental Health and Safety Labor Management Committee to discuss more stringent mask recommendations or requirements. If the CDC changes their ways of indicating risk level, MPS will follow CDC and/or MDH or local public health guidelines.  

If local public health authorities recommend masking for a classroom/grade/school, MPS will follow those guidelines, regardless of transmission rates and risk levels.  Additionally, the CDC always recommends masking in healthcare settings, including school nurses’ offices, regardless of the current COVID-19 Community Level. As such, regardless of masking requirements in the schools, health office staff may ask students to wear a mask in the health office, if able to do so (e.g., Symptoms of illness).     

Finally, anyone who has known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is being implemented in schools and offices where possible through the following engineering and administrative controls.    

  • While onsite all staff, students and visitors are encouraged to maintain at least three feet of distance from others where possible, recognizing that many buildings do not have the capacity to support social distancing.  

  • Each department and school will have their own social distancing best practices that will address their specified location and best practices for their staff.  

Ventilation

MPS continues to operate building ventilation systems using MERV 13 or greater filters. In classrooms where systems don’t allow for MERV 13 ventilation, additional HEPA filters have been installed and are being maintained. MPS will continue to operate ventilation systems 2 hours prior and 2 hours after building occupancy, (along with continually while building is occupied as is our standard) in order to complete a full vacant building air exchange. MPS completed a full ventilation study which is available to view on the Environmental Health & Safety web page.  

Housekeeping

Regular housekeeping practices are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, and areas in the work environment, including restrooms, break rooms, lunch rooms and meeting rooms. Minneapolis Public Schools follows all of the CDC and OSHA recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting. Each department and school will have their own cleaning and disinfecting best practices that will address their specified location and best practices for their staff. These best practices are documented by Plant Operations and kept on file. 

Miscellaneous

Athletics

Sports teams will follow the Minneapolis Public Schools guidelines. If the Minnesota State High School League has more stringent requirements, those will also be followed. 

School-sponsored Events

MPS students and staff will adhere to this plan for COVID guidance. This encompasses the Athletic Departments, and other extracurricular events that involve indoor/outdoor interactions with other school students and staff.  

Communications and Training

A copy of this plan will be posted on the staff intranet COVID-19 page. It will be updated as necessary. Health and Safety training is available to staff on MPS’ The Source training intranet site. Training videos include Germ Spread and Prevention, Handwashing, Social Distancing, Mask Do’s and Don'ts. 

Free COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing

Free vaccines for children

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website for more information about vaccines for children and vaccine locations.

Free COVID-19 testing options

There are many free COVID-19 testing opportunities:
  • Test kits are available for students for themselves and if needed to take to their family members wherever there is a co-located school-based clinics. 
  • Walk in or schedule an appointment for a free test at one of the state’s 11 COVID-19 community testing sites.
  • Find other testing options near them through the state’s Find Testing Locations map, including through local providers, pharmacies and clinics: Find Testing Locations.

 


Monkeypox (MPX)

On Aug. 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox (MPX) a public health emergency. Its symptoms include: 

  • a blister-like rash, 
  • congestion, 
  • cough, 
  • sore throat, 
  • muscle aches, 
  • fatigue, 
  • fever, 
  • and/or swollen lymph nodes. 

While MPX is a serious illness and we need to take precautions, it is important to note that it is different from COVID-19 in that it does not appear to spread nearly as easily. 

We know that it does spread through person-to-person physical contact and by coming into contact with items or surfaces that have been touched by an infected person’s rash. 

To date, there have been few confirmed cases of MPX in children. However, please know that anyone can get MPX and it is a public health concern for all. It is not a disease experienced only by members of specific communities. For more information about MPX, please visit the CDC’s frequently asked questions

Here at Minneapolis Public Schools, many of the steps we are taking with COVID-19 will also help us prevent the potential spread of monkeypox. These include:

  • All students and staff will be asked to self-monitor for the symptoms of MPX. If they are feeling sick, they should stay home from school. If they are experiencing symptoms, they should consult a healthcare professional right away and notify the school office.
  • Students and staff will be frequently reminded about the importance of proper handwashing. No-touch hand sanitizer units will continue to be available throughout our buildings.
  • We will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout our schools on a frequent basis. 

Anyone who has the illness will be asked to stay home until they are no longer experiencing symptoms, per CDC guidelines. MPS Health Services will continue to monitor the situation with our public health partners and provide further updates as needed.


Measles

Updated Oct. 24, 2022

Measles, a very contagious disease caused by a virus, has recently been identified within the MPS community. We encourage the MPS community to learn more on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)’s website. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against measles.

MPS is working closely with public health officials on supporting the individuals impacted. Unvaccinated individuals are notified by phone and the entire school community receives the information via email.

All families should consider the following important following information:

Check your child’s immunization records.

  • The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine series is 97% effective against measles. Students who are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine have a low risk of becoming sick with measles.
  • If you are not sure if your child has had one or more measles shots, contact your doctor or clinic. You can also request your immunization record by visiting Find My Immunization Record.

Watch for symptoms of measles.

  • The symptoms of measles include fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and red eyes.
    • If anyone in your home develops these symptoms, call your doctor or clinic right away.
    • Stay at home and avoid having visitors until you have talked with your doctor or clinic.
  • Keep your child out of school or child care if they have symptoms.
  • If anyone who lives in your home develops symptoms, MDH may contact you with additional information and recommendations.

More information is available on the MDH Measles (Rubeola) Basics webpage.

More Information