Alexandria Public Schools is in the process of updating its mitigation guide to include both classroom and school level data.

The school case rate data has improved at both the staff and student levels so the district is going to take that into account, said Superintendent Rick Sansted in a note to parents on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

The district will also be taking into account input from the COVID advisory team and then the district will decide on whether it can “shift down” and how that would impact staff and students, said Sansted.

Parents should be receiving more information about that next week.

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Sansted shared some goals with the new mitigation guide, which first and foremost included keeping students and staff safe and healthy. In addition, the goal is to have in-person learning at all levels five days a week.

Other goals included developing transparent data tools so families, staff and community members are aware of the metrics and potential shifts in mitigation measures.

Some of data used by the district includes monthly county case rates, the number of student and staff positive cases, students and staff placed in quarantine via close contact with a positive case, student active cases and quarantines, active case, cleared cases and cumulative totals by building and extensive contact mapping.

In the updated mitigation guide, which was also presented to school board members at the Monday, Oct. 18, meeting, the requirements for face masks in the different tiers have changed.

In Tier 1, where there are no active cases in a classroom, students will be encouraged to wear face coverings.

In Tier 2, where there is one active case in a classroom, the district will share information about the level of transmission and request or strongly recommend that students wear face coverings.

For Tier 3, when there are two active cases in a classroom, face coverings will be required for all students in that respective building/classroom for a minimum of 14 days, which is one incubation period. Data will continue to be monitored to determine what the next steps would be.

For Tier 4, which is when there are three or more active cases in a classroom, face coverings will be required for all students in that respective building/classroom for a minimum of 14 days, which is one incubation period. The district will also consult with Horizon Public Health and/or the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the next steps.

In the information sent out to parents on Wednesday, Oct. 20, Sansted included a link to a 12-minute video with background information on the what, how, why and specifically, what data the district will be looking at to help inform them for any adjustments in the district’s mitigation protocols.

The district’s COVID-19 dashboard on its website is updated weekly on Thursdays by the end of day to reflect data through Wednesday of each week.

For more information, parents are encouraged to call the district’s COVID Information Center at 320-762-3345 or send an email to covid@alexschools.org.