Health & Safety
Our priority will always be the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We are developing Standards of Care for us all to work together as one community in keeping each other safe. While we cannot control the threat of COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed, we can minimize the risks as much as possible for the protection of our entire NLA community. We have invested in additional Health Staff on Campus as well as operational modifications to help keep our community safe.
Sanitizing and Ventilation
New Life Academy has made several enhancements to its facilities and operations procedures to ensure a safe campus:
- HVAC/AC system cleaning and maintenance of high-grade filters
- Doubled fresh air exchange in HVAC system, which manages air flow contained to every 2-3 classrooms
- Using only EPA-approved, safe disinfectants.
- Continual cleaning of common interior spaces and high-touch surfaces throughout each day.
- Installing hand sanitizing stations on campus and equipping every classroom with hand sanitizer and cleaners
- Cleaning desks and shared equipment between each class period or student use.
- Water fountains will be turned off for drinking. The bottle filler station in the Commons will be available for students to fill their resuable water bottles.
Daily Health Screening
Parents will be asked to take their child’s temperature each day and complete a health questionnaire before coming to school to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you answered yes to any of the symptoms on the health screening form, please do not send your child to school.
Please do not attend school if:
- Your child is not feeling well (COVID-19 or non-COVID symptoms of illness).
- Your child has a fever of 100.4° F or greater.
- Your child or anyone in your home experiences COVID symptoms.
- Your child or anyone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 or is waiting for COVID-19 test results.
- Your child or anyone in your home has been exposed to COVID-19.
Please contact your health provider and the school to report any COVID-related illness or exposure. Your health provider will give you recommendations to follow. The school will work in coordination with Minnesota Department of Health for school protocols.
We will follow CDC hygiene guidelines and educate students on the importance of washing hands with soap and clean water as the most effective way to prevent spread of infections to others, reducing respiratory illnesses. Hand sanitizer has been placed in each classroom and in common spaces throughout campus. Additionally we will remind students of the importance of other healthy habits such as coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow and avoiding touching the face.
According to Minnesota Executive Order 20-81, all Minnesotans 6 years and older must wear a face covering inside businesses (including non-profit, and schools). While this Executive Order is in place, New Life will require the use of masks. Children 5 years and under are not required to wear a mask as well as those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
Masks can be removed accordingly:
- During recess when outside and physically distanced.
- During PE or sports when physical exertion makes it difficult to breathe with a mask on.
- In choir or band at the teachers discretion.
- When giving a presentation.
- When eating or drinking.
New Life Academy will provide opportunities in the day for a mask break. The Executive Order indicates that if students are in a room alone or distanced at least 6 ft apart, masks may be temporarily removed. Teachers will guide students if their room arrangement for each class adheres to the guidelines to be able to remove masks.
Physical distancing efforts are in place using new procedures in our school.
Classrooms: New Life Academy is limiting class sizes to provide adequate distance between students during class (6 ft when possible). Desks are also being arranged to all face one direction rather than the collaborative environment that we are accustomed to. Collaborative classroom tables will be equipped with plexiglass dividers for any arrangements where students are sitting across from each other.
Hallways: reminders to keep distance will be placed throughout the school. Hallways are also one-directional so that students are generally facing one direction. Lockers are not used to start so that students aren’t standing close together.
Lunch: lunch is being eaten in classrooms to avoid group gatherings and sitting across tables facing each other when masks are off eating.
Recess: there is plenty of room on the playground for students to spread out, exercise, and run. Recess monitors will remind students to keep some distance while playing.
FLEX: FLEX time will be handled differently than usual to avoid groups of students gathering in common spaces. Students will be checking into designated FLEX spaces that are controlled for student numbers.
Before and After school: Physical distancing for before and after school programs will be managed in the same way as the areas indicated above depending on the activity. For grades 6-12, students will need to be checked in to work spaces in the Commons to allow for physical distancing around tables.
PE and Sports: Sports will run according to the guidelines by the MSHSL. PE class will focus on low contact activities that allow for physical movement while minimizing student contact.
It is very possible that members of our school community will get sick with COVID-19 or other common illnesses. As such, we will follow many new recommendations in the “2020-21 Planning Guide for School” by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for the safety of the NLA community. In addition, if a student, faculty, or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the health staff will maintain health protocols and adhere to CDC procedures:
- Require that parents keep their student home if their temperature is 100.4°F or greater.
- Take caution to keep your child home if they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or experience symptoms of fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Request that parents alert NLA health office if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 or has come in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Notify local MDH of a diagnosis of COVID-19, as well as others who may be affected while maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
- Require quarantine of the student/teacher for 10 calendar days, without return to campus until they are symptom free and fever free for 48 hours.
- Require quarantine of siblings and family members living with the affected student for 14 days, with return dependent upon MDH guidelines (no symptoms, etc.)
In the event of a positive COVID-19 case at school, New Life Academy will work closely with MDH to determine the appropriate protocol(s), which may include:
- Close the primary area where the student was located for up to 24 hours per CDC guidance, and heavily disinfect before re-entry.
- With MDH guidance, trace exposure within our community to allow for a better understanding of the overall school-wide health condition, localized to campus, building, and classroom.
- Decide about school dismissal or cancellation of school events in coordination with our local health officials.
- Any shift to Distance Learning will be determined in partnership with the MDH based on New Life Academy specific data.
Resources from MDH and CDC:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My child has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. How do I let the school know?
A. Please provide a doctors note so that we can record the exemption in your student record.
Q. Can students wear face shields instead of masks?
A. A face shield (a clear plastic barrier that covers the face) allows visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception and may be used as an alternative to a face covering in the following situations: Among students in Kindergarten through grade 8, when wearing a face covering is problematic. By teachers (all grades), when wearing a face covering may impede the educational process. For staff, students, or visitors who cannot tolerate a face covering due to a developmental, medical, or behavioral health condition. For staff providing direct support student services, when a face covering impedes the service being provided. For optimal protection, the face shield should extend below the chin anteriorly, to the ears laterally, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
Q. Will the school provide masks if a student forgets or does not have a mask?
A. We have a small supply of extra masks in case a student forgets a mask, however, we will not have a daily supply adequate for each student. If a student frequently forgets, we will contact your family.
Q. When/where do we go to order the NLA branded neck gaiters?
A. NLA ordered 1 neck gaiter/buff per student and will hand them out once they arrive. They may not arrive in time for the first day of school so please plan accordingly.
Q. Do you plan to test students before they go into school/require them to get tested before attending school?
A. No. The recommendations from MDH are testing only if there is exposure to a positive case or the person had symptoms.
Q. A lot of the symptoms of COVID are similar to influenza. What do we do if our student presents one of the symptoms, recover in 24 hours and show no signs of fever?
A. This year it is especially important for everyone who is able to, to get a flu shot. Students with symptoms will be referred to their physician for diagnosis and testing. For people with other diagnoses (e.g., norovirus, strep throat) that explain the symptoms, or when a health care provider says symptoms are connected to a pre-existing condition: Stay home until symptoms have improved. If symptoms related to a pre-existing condition change or worsen, talk to a health care provider to determine next steps. Siblings and household members do not need to stay home.
Q. What is the protocol for students that show a fever mid-day yet no symptoms of COVID?
A. Fever is a symptom of COVID-19 as well as a number of other common childhood illnesses. At school, the child will be isolated near the health office while parents are notified for pick up. Parent follow-up with the health care provider will be essential to determine next steps.
Q. What about dropping off meds? Are the students still able to keep the meds and epi pens in the nurse’s office?
A. Yes. This can be done on Eagle Kick-off day. Contact our health office if there are any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Will nebulizer treatments be allowed or are inhalers with spacers required? Or preferred? Inhalers are recommended and strongly preferred over nebulizers in the school setting.
A. Please talk with your child’s health care provider about the possibility of switching them to using an inhaler and spacer at school. Accommodations/extra precautions will be taken if a nebulizer is required at school. As always, please provide a 2020 asthma action plan signed by both the parent and health care provider along with the unexpired medication (with the pharmacy label) and supplies.
Q. If our family travels out of state in September, would our student need to quarantine when we return? If there are travel restrictions and/or if social distancing was not maintained on the trip.
A. We will follow CDC guidelines for travel and quarantine.