MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Mankato Area Public Schools is reporting a major spike in students in quarantine.
In addition to 29 cases reported at schools across the district last week, 383 students are quarantined due to close contact reported within a school.
”What we’re looking at is where the person who is positive is seated in the classroom. The second thing we look at is how many days were they infectious and in school.”
Depending on those factors, facilities director Scott Hogen says drastic measures may not need to be taken. But in some recent instances, he says students have come to school for three to four days without knowing they had coronavirus.
”We then look at potentially the entire classroom needing to be quarantined, just due to the amount of time that they were exposed to the infection.”
MAPS is also monitoring a confirmed case of a new variant that was detected in the disctict.
The Minnesota Department of Health flagged Blue Earth County as one of eight they’re keeping an eye on due to recent COVID spikes, and a risk for a variant outbreak.
”They’re testing samples from a lot of the positives coming out of our region, and so we were alerted of this, and were asked to take more precautions in our quarantining progress.”
Staff at Mankato Area Public Schools are being tested every two weeks, with tests provided by MDH and MDE.
For students, testing is voluntary. The district is asking parents to bring their student in for a test every two weeks, and this week unveils a new opportunity to make that easier.
”They can order a home test kit through MDH, put their test vial into the package, put the shipping label on, and the student can bring it to school, drop it off at school, and the district will make sure it gets sent in through the UPS site.”
Meanwhile, the district is monitoring regional data every day. And once a week, administrators meet up with a group called the COVID Command Team. It’s made up of experts from county public health, local emergency management, MDH, Mayo Clinic and Mankato Clinic to further discuss trends in order to make decisions.
The district says it’s doing everything it can to keep schools open.