We understand families may have questions and concerns regarding the much-publicized coronavirus outbreak around the globe. On Sunday, March 15, Governor Walz announced the state-wide closing of all public schools effective Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, March 27, as a result of the rapidly evolving situation related to coronavirus. This closing applies to all Mounds View Public Schools and programs. During this time, educators and District staff are working to create a plan for distance learning in event of a longer school closure in the future. Effective March 30, 2020, student learning is expected to continue through the end of the school year.
Please visit this page often for the most up-to-date information about this evolving issue.
Mounds View Public Schools is in regular communication with the Minnesota Department of Health on this evolving topic. Licensed School Nurses and Health Office personnel are staying informed of the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will continue to work closely with public health officials to support the health and safety of our students, staff and families.
Frequent media coverage of this newly discovered virus can feel overwhelming. Here are some resources that provide accurate information and some tips for talking with kids when they have questions in times of uncertainty.
Messages from the District
- March 16 message: Coronavirus updates
- March 15 message: Schools closing through March 27, 2020
- Coronavirus update: March 12, 2020
- Coronavirus Operational Response planning announced, February 26: A note to the community
Question or comment?
Frequently asked questions
We have been receiving questions from families seeking to learn more about the planning that has been happening at Mounds View Public Schools. Here’s a little more information that you may find helpful.
What is the District considering in their coronavirus planning?
District staff and educators are using the time during the statewide school closure to create plans for implementing social distancing and distance learning. Among the issues staff are considering:
- Providing necessary technology for students to participate in e-learning
- Making sure internet access (or an alternative method) is available for every student
- Grading and testing considerations
- School activities and events
- School cleaning protocols
- Prevention strategies and education
- Special education needs
- English learner needs
Could schools close?
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Governor Walz declared a statewide closure of all schools through March 27, 2020. During this time, District staff and educators are expected to create plans for implementing social distancing and distance learning in the event of a longer closure in the future. At this time, it is expected that student learning will resume starting March 30, 2020, through the end of the school year.
Are you offering free childcare for children of emergency and healthcare workers?
Consistent with the Governor’s guidance, Mounds View Public Schools will be providing childcare for parents who have children who work and serve in the healthcare and/or emergency fields. Verification of employment, such as a letter from the employer or an employment badge, is required. Care will be provided for children grades K-5. This service will be free to families and available from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This childcare will take place at the following locations starting Wednesday, March 18:
- Sunnyside Elementary School (2070 County H, New Brighton, MN 55112)
- Island Lake Elementary School (3555 Victoria St N, Shoreview, MN 55126)
To see the list of healthcare and emergency workers that qualify for this childcare and to register, fill out this form. For students and families who do not meet the definition of an emergency worker in the link above, regular Mounds View Public Schools childcare programming, including Y Care, will be closed.
Are you serving meals to students?
School meals are a vital source of nutrition for many students. We are committed to providing free breakfast and lunch to students starting Monday, March 23 and continuing throughout the closure. Expect additional details about times and locations in the coming days.
What if my child has medication or other items at school? Are we able to retrieve them?
Yes. Watch for additional information coming directly from your child's school about building hours for the pick-up of items and medication. We urge you to have limited interactions, practice social distancing and to stay in the building only as long as necessary, to stay aligned with current CDC guidelines.
How are schools staying clean?
Building custodians are still working and have been directed to clean daily all horizontal surfaces with disinfectant in all classrooms, offices, gymnasiums, media centers, auditoriums, multi-purpose rooms and hallways/entryways. These surfaces include, but are not limited to; bathroom areas, locker room areas, kitchens, cafeterias, classroom sinks, drinking fountains, door handles, handrails, etc. The CDC currently recommends using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. As such, hand sanitizer dispensers containing the brand Nexa Manufactured by Ecolab, an alcohol-based sanitizer, are being installed in high-risk areas, lunchrooms and main offices in all buildings. The priority for installation of Ecolab dispensers is in areas without access to sinks where soap and water would be available.
Could learning continue if schools were closed for an extended period of time?
Mounds View Public Schools understands that learning can occur anywhere, anytime and under different circumstances. When students return from the statewide closure, the District will begin a phased process of assigning students a Chromebook to keep and bring home daily in the event that school may be closed. This process will begin with our high schools and will allow students to have electronic access to any online or remote learning opportunities that teachers may offer. District staff and educators are using the time during the statewide closure to create plans to implement distance learning and social distancing in the event of a longer closure in the future.
What’s the policy for student absences?
A parent or guardian is to call the school’s attendance office each day the student is absent. If no contact has been made with the attendance office prior to student's return to school, the parent/guardian must send a signed note to school with the student's name, grade and date(s) and reason (s) for the absence. A student is considered unexcused from school when he/she has an all-day absence that is not approved by the parent/guardian and the school. This is not required during the statewide school closure through March 30, 2020.
How will make-up work be handled for student absences?
Students typically have two days to make up work for each day of excused absence. Should we see prolonged absences in our community, there may be a need for flexibility regarding make-up work and timelines. Students who are absent while ill are not expected to complete school work while they are ill at home.
My child receives special education services. How will those services continue if we move to distance learning?
Special education staff at each school will be contacting parents of children receiving services starting Monday, March 23, to begin the process of planning for distance learning. Watch for communication from your school starting Monday, March 23, 2020.
What about school-sponsored student travel or trips to Laurentian?
Mounds View Public Schools has suspended all overnight, school-related air travel for students, including some overnight trips that were already scheduled. The national concerns related to coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. and beyond are changing rapidly and have made the risks of travel uncertain and unprecedented for us. Please know this decision was not taken lightly, and it reflects our concerns for the health and safety of our students, staff and families. The District will consult with the MDH and the CDC for guidance on when student travel could resume. Overnight school trips including Laurentian require prior approval of the principal after consultation with appropriate activity advisors, activity directors, school nurses and District administration. Procedures for handling widespread illnesses during trips will be in place before groups are approved to leave on these trips.
What about activities?
In the event of confirmed coronavirus in the community, co-curricular activities may be temporarily cancelled. Any cancellations of after-school activities or events including games, concerts, plays, fairs, etc. will be posted on the District and school websites. Events that convene large groups of attendees during a period where a school has experienced significant student absences will require advance communication warning attendees that they should be aware that the school community is experiencing widespread illness.
Are schools testing students and staff for COVID-19?
According to the Center for Disease Control, schools are not expected to screen or test students or staff to identify cases of coronavirus. Public health officials are providing surveillance and guidance at this time. If there is reason for concern in our school communities, MDH will communicate with the District directly for planning.
Are certain populations more likely to carry COVID-19 than others?
The risk of COVID-19 is not connected to any race, ethnicity or nationality. It is important to avoid prejudice to Minnesotans of Asian descent or assuming that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have COVID-19.
How are we communicating with families?
The District’s website will remain a primary vehicle for communicating with the community. This site includes resources and advice on how to help minimize the risk of spreading viruses, with links to state and federal information resources on the virus. Other communication vehicles that can be utilized include:
- Mounds View Messaging voice mails, texts and emails to parents and staff
- E-news messages to parents and staff
- School and District enewsletters
Parents can expect a Mounds View Messaging voice mail, text or email message should there be any school or event cancellations.