RPS COVID guidelines for upcoming school year
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – There are about two weeks left until many Rochester public school students head back to the classroom. As we enter the new school year, many parents may be wondering about COVID guidelines for students and staff.
After dealing with a number of pandemic challenges, RPS staff members are ready to get kids back into the classroom, helping them get started on ‘unfinished learning.’
“They’ve got some things they need to learn, and it’s our job to help them fill those gaps,” RPS superintendent Kent Pekel said.
RPS is following closely with the most recent CDC guidelines. According to new guidance released last week, if five percent or more of kids and staff test positive for COVID, the school is required to wear masks for two weeks.
“That means in one school where we do have an outbreak, they’re wearing masks and we don’t need to do that in other schools where we don’t have that problem,” superintendent Pekel said.
For students and staff who test positive, they will be required to quarantine for five days instead of the previous guidelines of 10 days.
“We hope we don’t have to go to distance learning in the classroom or school level this year, but if we need to, we know how to do that too,” superintendent Pekel said.
Also, new this year, people who are considered close contacts to someone who contracts the virus will not be required to quarantine.
“The people who are chasing down kids, who are close contacts were generally our principals and our school health nurses. They got other stuff we want them to be doing,” superintendent Pekel said.
While RPS is urging vaccinations for both students and staff, there is no COVID vaccine requirement.
“Strongly encouraging every kid who is eligible for vaccination to get vaccinated and we’re encouraging that as well, but not mandating it,” superintendent Pekel said.
While RPS is relying on the CDC for its COVID recommendations, it’s also reaching out to our local public health partners Olmsted County Public Health and Mayo Clinic.
“We’re living with this right now. We know how to manage this. We have the tools in our tool kit to manage it, but we’re not out of it,” superintendent Pekel said.
During an RPS student’s quarantine period, the student will be practicing asynchronous learning. That means students will do work on their own time and get recorded lectures from some teachers.
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