Face Coverings And Other UpdatesTou Thao
Good Morning SHPA Families,
We hope you are continuing to enjoy your summer despite the present uncertainty and corresponding anxiety we know some of you are feeling regarding the upcoming school year. We can assure you we are working hard planning for all three learning scenarios as we continue to receive public health guidance from the MDH and await the announcement of a fall delivery model from the MDE next week. Please see the updates from the state below regarding face coverings as well as emergency planning and food assistance for families. We will continue to develop our scenario plans for teaching and learning and related services such as busing and lunch, and we look forward to sharing these with you after receiving the forthcoming announcement from the MDE.
Face Coverings: Earlier this week, Governor Tim Walz announced Executive Order 20-81 requiring Minnesotans to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and indoor businesses starting on July 25, 2020. This Executive Order applies to all Minnesotans, making exemptions for children who are five-years-old and under, and those with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering. Included in those settings where masks will be required, are school buildings, both public and nonpublic. Face coverings are generally required for all students, staff, and other persons present in any kindergarten through grade 12 school buildings or district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles. To provide a consistent, safe environment for students and staff, this requirement applies equally to kindergartners, even those aged 5 or under. Students and staff have flexibility to wear face shields instead of face coverings, which allows visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception, in certain situations. These situations include:
- Among students in kindergarten through grade 8 when wearing a face covering is problematic.
- For educators of all grades, when wearing a face covering may impede the educational process.
While we had included the implementation of face coverings in our scenario planning, they are now a statewide requirement for schools. Our scenario planning additionally includes partnering with parents on the proper way to wear for students to wear a face covering. We encourage you to visit the MDH and CDC websites to review this guidance and practice it with your child(ren).
Make a Plan Minnesota! Plan. Prepare. Share. Developing an emergency plan can help you and your family be prepared for whatever comes your way. It is never too early to develop a plan for your family. It is also a good idea to revisit and update existing plans. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is requiring us to plan in different ways than other emergencies. One important plan to have in place is what to do if a parent or guardian becomes sick or hospitalized due to the virus. We encourage you to develop a plan for how you, your family, and caregivers will respond to a potential illness or hospitalization. Having a plan can help reduce stress in the event of an emergency and help everyone transition. Start by having a conversation with everyone involved and use this as a guide.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) can provide families with children up to $325 for groceries. The Minnesota Department of Human Services says as many as 150,000 families may be eligible for these additional food assistance benefits. The application is available in Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. The deadline has been extended to July 31. Please share this message with your community so that families can apply at https://mn.p-ebt.org. For help applying, families can call 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Continue to take care and enjoy the weekend,
The SHPA Leadership Team