What you need to know about Covid and MPS


Libby Kramer, Managing Editor

As students come back to school during the Omicron wave, there will likely be a lot of anxiety surrounding the return to in-person classes and Covid-19. Even though schools can feel unsafe and lack easily accessible information about what the administration is doing, the district is still taking precautions to keep all of its students safe.

The precautions Minneapolis Public Schools are taking mostly revolve around face masks. The requirement of face masks is the main precaution and is frequently mentioned as a part of the district’s plan to keep people safe. All schools have a mask mandate and most have an assortment of signs reminding students that masks are required. 

The district is also still encouraging social distancing when possible. In reality, social distancing is not strictly enforced in the classroom or at mealtimes, but the district’s website does state that they are encouraging a 6-foot distance and seating charts at mealtimes, as well as a 3-6 foot distance in classrooms. 

In addition, MPS is including sanitization and added air filters last spring. Despite the knowledge that covid doesn’t spread effectively on surfaces, the recommendations are still for highly-traveled areas and high contact surfaces to be sanitized daily. Covid does however spread in the air, so installing MERV 11-14 air filters or HEPA filters was another step that the district took. The MERV 11-14 filters are high-rated air filters but are only found in classrooms where they can be installed. These precautions may seem relatively small, but they are something to protect students against Covid-19. 

Another problem faced by students is the lack of information about when to stay home from school and when it is necessary to quarantine. The official district recommendations are that if a student or staff member feels sick with any Covid-19 symptoms they should stay home. These symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, chills, cough, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, headache, or fatigue. These symptoms can be hard to monitor when things like fatigue are considered a symptom and would be a reason to stay home. Try your hardest, Southwest Family! Students are also expected to stay home if they are directly exposed to Covid-19. The MPS website states that if an unvaccinated student or staff member is exposed they should quarantine for 10 days. However, the district information does not specify for how long you are vaccinated or if testing is required. If a student starts feeling sick at school there should be a designated room in the nurse’s office until they can go home. This room should have proper air filtering. 

Hopefully, this information can be useful in the adventure of returning to in-person instruction and the stress that comes with attending school amidst a pandemic. Do your best to stay safe, Lakers!

All of this information and more can be found at https://mpls.k12.mn.us/covid_safety