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COVID-19 Q & A

Last updated September 29, 2021

Q:  What steps are St. Francis Area Schools taking to encourage physical distancing?

A:  Federal funding has been provided, for more staff, to keep class sizes down and promote physical distancing.

Q:  What options are available for staff testing for COVID-19?

A:  Testing is available for staff through a partnership with Gatherwell.  Gatherwell has three locations; for more information about Gatherwell, please visit their website.  Currently, there are no restrictions on the number of times SFAS staff can test for COVID-19.  For other questions on staff testing, please contact Mr. Brandon Nelson in Human Resources or Mr. Chris Lindquist (COVID-19 testing coordinator).

Q:  What options are available for student testing for COVID-19?

A:  Optional testing will be available through St. Francis Area Schools for students. We have received a supply of “over-the-counter,” take-home-style tests that will be made available for our students. These tests are an OPTIONAL resource and offer a private opportunity for families to rapid test inside of their own homes. Students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may request a take-home test from the school nurse with parental consent.  All testing is self-administered and should be performed at home.

Q:  Are students and staff required to wear a mask in the school buildings or on school buses?

A:  No, masking is optional. St. Francis Area Schools recommends using masks while indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they are not required.

Q:  Will schools provide masks?

A:  Limited supply of disposable masks will be available. Students and families should plan on supplying their own masks for personal use if they choose.

Q:  What is the school district doing to keep our kids safe?

A:  St. Francis Area Schools continues to be a leader in providing high-quality ventilation in our buildings. Daily cleaning and sanitizing protocols are in place, along with hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.

Q:  Is the district quarantining individuals who come into contact with a positive COVID-19 case?

A:  Quarantining will not be required for close contact. 

Q:  COVID-19 test results came back positive. Now, what happens?

A:  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should first follow a medical provider's orders. Otherwise, it is recommended that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate at home until:

  • They feel better (symptoms have improved), and;
  • It has been ten days since they first felt sick (or since they tested if no symptoms were present), and;
  • They have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without using a medicine that lowers fevers.

Q:  Do I need to notify anyone if my student tested positive?

A:  Please contact the health office at your students’ school to report a positive test.

Minnesota Rule 4605.7070 requires any person in charge of any institution, school, childcare facility, or camp to report cases of COVID-19 to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

Q:  Are staff required to report a positive case?

A:  Yes, staff should report a positive COVID-19 test result to Human Resources Director Brandon Nelson.

Q:  What happens if a household member tests positive for COVID-19?

A:  St. Francis Area Schools requests that families follow CDC and MDH recommendations.

Q:  What happens if case numbers spike inside our schools?

A:  District staff will carefully monitor positive COVID-19 cases in our schools. The safety of students and staff is the district's top priority.  Previous years have prepared us well to adapt if necessary.

Q:  Will I be notified if my student has come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

A:   Suppose a student is in a self-contained environment such as a school bus, an elementary or Transition 15 classroom, or on a sports team, in a club, or school activity. In that case, families can expect a written notification via email if the student has come into contact with a positive COVID-19 case.  

For students at St. Francis Middle School or St. Francis High School, who are mobile throughout the building during the day, families can be kept informed of positive cases by referring to the COVID-19 Dashboard on the district website.  Parents are encouraged to check the website for updates.

Q:  Are students able to move to online programming during a trimester?  

A:  Space is limited for online programs to accommodate requests after the first two weeks of the trimester. An intake meeting is required prior to any transition from in-person learning to the district's online program.

Q:  At the end of the trimester, if my student wishes to return to in-person learning, will they return to their original classroom and teacher?

A:  Class placement for the next trimester would be based on class sizes at that time and would not be based on class assignments in August.

Q:  When does Trimester 1 and 2 end?

A:  End of Trimester 1 is December 2, 2021, and the End of Trimester 2 is: March 4, 2022.

Q:  Will St. Francis Area Schools allow non-staff/adults in school buildings this year?  

A:  Currently, we are only allowing essential staff in our elementary buildings and Early Childhood buildings. We are allowing non-essential staff/adults to enter St. Francis Middle School and St. Francis High School.

Q:  Will St. Francis Area Schools provide isolation rooms for individuals exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

A:  The district will continue to monitor the need for isolation rooms.