Dear RPS Students, Families and Staff,
As we begin the 2022-23 school year, we know that many of you are concerned about COVID-19, the national outbreak of monkeypox and the growing reports about polio outbreaks in the U.S.
We will continue to follow CDC recommendations for COVID-19. We will also use the Hennepin County COVID-19 community levels for guidance on masking and recommended actions based on the current community level. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least five days and isolate yourself from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first five days. We recommend wearing a well-fitting mask through day ten or you test negative twice, whichever happens first. There is additional information on our COVID-19 Information web page.
On August 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Its symptoms include a blister-like rash, congestion, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
While monkeypox 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 monkeypox in children. However, please know that anyone can get monkeypox and it is a public health concern for all. It is not a disease experienced only by members of specific communities.
In RPS, many of the steps we are taking with COVID-19 will also help prevent the potential spread of monkeypox. These include:
- All students and staff will be asked to self-monitor for symptoms of illness, including monkeypox. 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. 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 monkeypox will be asked to stay home until they are no longer experiencing symptoms, per CDC guidelines.
Recent headlines about polio in the U.S. are tied to lagging vaccination rates in children. Children who have not started their Polio vaccine series or who are delayed in getting all recommended doses should start as soon as possible or finish their series by following the recommended catch-up schedule. This applies to all recommended childhood vaccines, including DTP/DTaP, Hepatitis B and others.
To support families in getting their children vaccinated, we are participating in the No shots, No School program which allows families to get free vaccinations at the start of the school year through the first two weeks of September. You can learn more on the No Shots, No School Program website.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we work to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Whiteside, Health Service Supervisor at 612-798-6030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free vaccines for RPS students