Masking guidance now linked to high community transmission and school level indicators to keep schools safe and open effective, Jan. 31, 2022
(01/25/2022) Anoka-Hennepin Schools will utilize a metric that monitors high community COVID-19 transmission and factors school absences related to illness to drive decisions regarding masking for students and staff. A resolution approved by the school board on Jan. 24 rescinded the previous guidance that required universal masking for all students K-6, which means that the directive is no longer in effect. In addition, it was announced that masks will be recommended, not required, at all school district middle schools through the end of this week. This change applies to both students and staff.
Starting January 31, 2022, the following guidelines will be in effect in Anoka-Hennepin Schools:
- Face coverings/masks are recommended and not required for all persons at all grade levels in the district, unless the spread of COVID-19 is above 50 per 10,000 at the county level and student absences at the mid-week are double the two-year average at the school site.
- Face coverings/masks are required at sites that meet this criteria for the following week.
- At the school level, the following percentage of student absences would be used as an indicator for universal masking:
- Elementary: Above 8%
- Middle school: Above 11%
- High school: Above 13%
- Alternative programs: Above 30%
- These guidelines only apply during the school day and do not apply to evening and after school activities
- Adventures Plus programming and district volunteer programs will follow the same guidelines as the K-12 buildings.
- Face coverings/masks are required on student transportation. This is a federal requirement and not a rule under the authority of the school district.
- Face coverings/masks remain highly recommended for children ages 2 and up enrolled in early childhood programs. Masks continue to be required for early childhood staff while our youngest learners cannot be vaccinated.
Communication and notification
- At the district level, Anoka-Hennepin will maintain a dashboard to indicate the status regarding masking requirements in the district at ahschools.us/safeandopenstatus.
- The ahschools.us/safeandopenstatus website will be updated weekly on Thursdays with data from that week and notification will follow.
- Parents/guardians will be notified by email and text message regarding any change in masking guidance.
- Parents/guardians at the elementary level will continue to be notified by email if three or more students in a classroom have a positive case of COVID-19.
Health and safety protocols
- District staff have been offered KN95 masks since mid-January. Over 15,000 KN95 masks have been distributed.
- The district will maintain enhanced air quality standards, hand sanitizer stations, encourage hand washing, and continue enhanced cleaning methods as strategies to protect students and staff.
- Students and staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine or isolate and will be limited to household members based on recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health. Please notify health service at your students' school if symptoms or positive tests for COVID-19 occur. School will not conduct contact tracing initially unless circumstances require.
Vaccinations and testing
- COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 are not required by the school district.
- The district continues to provide at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen testing for students at no-cost. Please contact the health office at school to request a test kit. To date, Anoka-Hennepin has provided over 20,000 kits to families.
Anoka-Hennepin remains committed to providing a safe environment at school while ensuring in-person learning can continue throughout the end of the school year. Thank you for your attention to this message.