District COVID-19 Dashboard
COVID-19 Learning Model Decisions
As we enter our final quarter of the school year, the District continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 case rates. While there are rising numbers in Stearns County, the MN Department of Education (MDE) and the MN Department of Health (MDH) are not requiring schools to move to distance learning or hybrid learning using the matrix set up in the Fall. Instead, the State is encouraging schools to stay in person and quarantine classrooms or buildings if there is an outbreak as opposed to closing down an entire school district. Please help us keep our students in school by testing children regularly, continuing to wear masks in and out of school, social distancing and limiting contact with others. If your student is sick, please keep them home and have them tested. If we all work together, our students can finish out the year in person!
As a reminder, all Minnesotans age 16 and up are now eligible to receive a vaccine. At this time, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been studied and authorized for use by 16 and 17-year-olds. Data from Pfizer vaccine studies show the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. Other vaccine manufacturers are also studying their vaccines in younger age groups but have not yet received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has created a resource with information about COVID-19 vaccines for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Home Screening Tools
Minnesota Department of Health
- What to do if you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 link to PDF
- What to do if you’re waiting for COVID-19 test results link to PDF
- What to do if you have COVID-19 (how long you need to stay home) link to PDF
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) fact sheet link to PDF
- Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 webpage
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
This website gives visual examples that helps people figure out how long they need to quarantine if they have been exposed
- Resources from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health, and Stearns County Public Health.
March 3 CentraCare Update'Clarifying COVID' Offering Education on Pandemic
CentraCare has partnered with WCCO.com to provide up-to-date education on COVID-19 through their weekly Q&A web series "Clarifying COVID." In the last two weeks, CentraCare has been able to help answer questions including:
You can check out the first two segments on WCCO.com at the links below.
- Is there a chance we could see another surge of cases in the spring and summer?
- What about children? When will they get vaccinated?
- What do we need to know about COVID variants?
‘Clarifying COVID: Expert Q&A’ From Feb. 19
Clarifying COVID: How Long Does Immunity Last After Getting The Virus?COVID-19 Testing Options
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shared their recommendation that all youth returning to in-person learning, youth participating in sports or extracurricular activities get tested every two weeks until the end of the school year. MDH says that while it is not a requirement, regular testing complements other safety measures already in place, such as masking and social distancing. We want you to be aware of the testing options available to you through CentraCare and MDH.January 7 CentraCare Update
Right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is available for health care personnel and long-term care residents. But we understand your staff members and school families have many questions about the vaccine’s availability and future distribution to essential workers and the general public.
Some answers to frequently asked questions can be found on CentraCare’s website. We look forward to providing more details in the coming weeks as recommendations for vaccine distribution are released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).Sports and Face Coverings
Another hot topic right now – sports and face covering safety. MDH is requiring student athletes to wear a mask while playing sports. Overall, the vast majority of kids can safely wear a mask during athletics. There are very few exceptions to this recommendation.
If your child is having difficulty breathing while playing sports, including athletes with asthma, you should consult a doctor about whether they are healthy enough to participate. More information on the risks and benefits of playing sports during the pandemic can be found here.-Dr. George MorrisDecember 16 CentraCare UpdateFor months, our health care workers have been on the front lines of this pandemic. As you know firsthand, schools have been disrupted creating stress for teachers, staff, parents and, most importantly, our children. We’ve had to sacrifice our way of life. But finally, some good news surrounding COVID-19 – a vaccine.
- MDH allows cloth masks, neck gaiters, bandanas, scarves and religious face coverings – as long as there are two layers.
- The key is finding a mask that fits best. This helps ensure your child will wear it.
- If a face covering becomes saturated, it should be changed immediately. Experts say a wet face covering can interfere with breathing.
"There hasn’t been a lot of time in the past year that has been very hopeful. The possibility of a COVID vaccine coming soon is really something we can be hopeful about," said CentraCare pediatrician Dr. Jill Amsberry.
While it will be a few months before the vaccine will be available to the public, Dr. Amsberry gives us an update and the hope that vaccines bring.December 9 CentraCare Update
We know almost everyone is now in a distance learning situation, just like last spring. For parents, the term “juggling act” has taken on a whole new meaning in 2020. They could be working from home. The children are distance learning. Household chores are piling up. And the number of COVID-19 cases remains concerning. Gary Wallinga, PhD, LP, gives tips on how to help children while also allowing parents to maintain their sanity. Click here to read and share these tips.
With kids at home and inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have struggled to find the right limit for their child's gaming, especially when they already have screen time for schoolwork. Now the arrival of new PlayStation and Xbox consoles and winter weather, finding this balance will not be any easier in the coming months. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Kelly Woods notes some signs when gaming is becoming unhealthy for your child and how to set rules at home. Click here for more.
-Dr. George MorrisDecember 2 CentraCare update
When the pandemic caused shutdowns in the spring, we thought life would be back to normal by the fall. It made dealing with social disruptions a little easier. Now, nine months later, schools are moving to distance learning and extracurricular activities are being cancelled … again. This can be difficult for kids and teens to deal with. For tips on how to help children and adolescents cope during this stressful time, read this blog from CentraCare’s Gary Wallinga, PhD, LP.
If parents believe their child or teen needs additional support, CentraCare is offering virtual behavioral health visits. New and current patients are welcome. Learn more here or schedule an appointment by calling 320-255-6677. As always, thank you for helping us keep our communities safe.
-Dr. George MorrisNovember 18 CentraCare updateOur situation has drastically changed over this past week. The exponential growth is impacting our ability to meet all of the needs of our communities and the health of our staff. We know you are seeing this impact too with many districts moving to distance learning. There are many resources out there if you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. Testing is widely available. Recommendations for quarantine are clear and communicated. But what if COVID-19 is affecting you and your family’s mental health?It may feel like this topic isn’t receiving enough attention. That’s why we gathered information from Dr. Lori Listug-Lunde about the impacts of this pandemic on mental health. Dr. Listug-Lunde specializes in Child & Adolescent Psychology and outlined some stress warning signs and ways to cope in her recent blog.
As mentioned before, information about COVID-19 is everywhere. In your news feed. In conversations with family and friends. But what is myth versus fact?MYTHS: I’m immune to COVID-19. I will get the virus if I go to the hospital or clinic. COVID-19 can’t survive in the cold weather.
FACTS: Evidence does not support these claims. This misinformation can cause serious harm. Don’t let myths keep you from protecting yourself during this pandemic.
Please help us spread this video – not the virus – to make sure our community stays safe.Community SpreadAs we enter the holiday season, we are also experiencing large community spread of COVID-19 – especially in young patients and younger adults. According to this WCCO article that features CentraCare pediatrician Dr. Jill Amsberry, COVID case investigations seem to prove the younger, often asymptomatic population, is playing a big role in the community spread the state has seen recently.Tips to Safely Celebrate the HolidaysConsidering the current situation, you and your school families might be wondering how to safely celebrate the holidays this year. Check out this blog with tips on how to have uncomfortable conversations about not gathering in-person with family and friends.
If you do choose to celebrate in-person, the state’s new recommendations include the following restrictions:
- Limit of 10 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings
- Three households or less, including the host
These precautions may seem strict, but slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow our businesses and schools to maintain some normalcy as we navigate this pandemic. By abiding by these guidelines, you also are helping our health care workers on the frontlines – who are deeply impacted by this current surge.A Message from St. Cloud Hospital Frontline Workers
Please view this video from our St. Cloud Hospital frontline workers.Myth vs. Fact
CentraCare: We also know there is a lot of information out there about COVID-19. That’s why we started this partnership. To be a reliable source of knowledge for you and your school families. Help us spread the word, not the virus, on what is a myth and what is fact about COVID-19 by sharing this short video.Taking Care of our Neighbors
We also know it’s getting increasingly difficult to remain cautious while we battle COVID-19 in our communities. But we need to remember – safety precautions like masking and social distancing protect people like 82-year-old Patricia Smith-Baehr. She was at St. Cloud Hospital for six days with COVID-19 and shared her story. Safety measures not only protect our vulnerable populations – they keep our health care workers safe so they can better serve you. By doing our part, we help ensure there are enough beds in our hospitals to serve COVID-positive patients and others needing medical treatment.Halloween TipsView a video message from Dr. George Morris: Please take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you choose to go out trick or treating.
Online scheduling for COVID-19 testsNo more wait times. Now, you can make an appointment online for a COVID-19 test at one of our curbside testing locations. Patients will be given the option to make an appointment based on time and location. CentraCare offers curbside COVID-19 testing services in St. Cloud and several additional communities in Central Minnesota.Second COVID-19 surgeView a video message from Dr. George Morris: “This is a time for caution. We know that by doing things safer, we can impact the spread of COVID. We can do this. We can do this better by acting as one community.” From CentraCare: "During this second COVID-19 surge, we are seeing more community spread. People are getting exposed at small gatherings, while at work or participating in activities. In order to keep our schools and businesses open, we need to dial back social gatherings and consider virtual options while being diligent about masking, social distancing, and hygiene." October 21, 2020COVID-19 or Seasonal Flu?CentraCare’s Dr. Kimberly Tjaden shared a blog to help people navigate flu season while also dealing with COVID-19. What are some distinct differences between the two illnesses? Dr. Tjaden said, “The symptoms are very similar between COVID and influenza, but loss of taste and smell is unique to COVID. COVID-19 also may take longer to develop symptoms — up to 2 weeks after exposure. Influenza usually develops 1-4 days after exposure.”Boost your immune systemDr. George Morris provides an update (a steady increase of COVID-19 cases in our communities along with numbers of hospitalizations and ICU patients) along with steps you can take to protect yourself and your family, including ways to boost your immune system as we start to enter flu season.
- Wear a cloth mask or bandana as part of your costume – don’t rely on costume masks. Small children should not double up on masks.
- Practice social distancing while trick or treating. Do not gather at houses.
- Think of creative ways to give out candy from a distance, like hanging candy bags from your tree for trick or treaters to take.
Family Mental Health Resources
Please visit our Distance Learning Family Mental Health Resources page for contact information for our building counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals in addition to resources. Additional resources for mental health support are on our Student Support Services webpage (under Health Services).
Rozalyn Scoles, RN, BS, PHN, LSN
District School Nurse
Sartell High School (SHS)
Rachel Michalek, LPN/HA
Oak Ridge Early Learning Center (ORELC)
Wendy Dulski, LPN/HA
Pine Meadow Primary School (PMPS)
Ginny Anderson, LPN/HA
Riverview Intermediate School (RIS)
Katie Gallipo, RN, BS, PHN, LSN
Sartell Middle School (SMS)