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COVID-19: March 13, Letter to the Community

March 13, 2020

Dear New Prague Area Schools Families:

The health and safety of our students, staff, and community is our top priority. There is still much we do not know about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the fast-moving consequences of this public health concern. This situation is changing rapidly.

The Minnesota Department of Health has primary responsibility for the overall monitoring of Minnesota residents who may be exposed to the Coronavirus. At the present time, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education have not advocated for public schools in Minnesota to close. Should this situation change, we will immediately notify parents and adjust our operations accordingly.

I encourage you to think about backup plans for child care if school is temporarily closed or if parents, children, or a child care provider is sick. New Prague Area Schools will not be able to provide child care should schools be closed. The district is preparing plans for any situation, including how all students would be educated in the event of an extended school closure.

Following guidelines and recommendations from Minnesota Department of Health to prevent community spread of COVID-19, the following will be in effect immediately, ALL school sponsored and district sponsored events and activities are canceled until further notice. This includes band and choir concerts, parent-teacher conferences, elementary music performances, plays and theater productions, field trips, PTO/PAC, booster, and banquet events. Decisions about Minnesota State High School league events are being made by MSHSL. Teams can continue to hold practice until further notice.

At this time, non-district community events and facility use by non-district groups will not be permitted.

We are also enforcing a no-visitor policy in all district buildings. Visitors will not be permitted to visit students during lunch or at any time during the school day and volunteers will not be permitted in district buildings until further notice. As we work to incorporate mitigation strategies, limiting the number of outside guests within our schools is one strategy we can control.


These are the most important steps we can take to preserve public health:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a minute each time
  • Cover a cough by coughing into an elbow or use a tissue and place immediately in the trash
  • Stay home when sick with cold/flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Hand-shakes and touching of each other should be discouraged

Our district has a pandemic flu preparation component in our crisis plan. Our response team participates in frequent conference calls with the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education. We will do everything we can to make informed decisions in the best interest of our students’ health and safety.

We are continuing to educate students on healthy habits. In addition to regular daily cleaning, we are asking our custodial teams and all building staff to support clean facilities and classrooms focused on disinfecting high traffic areas and frequently used materials.

It's important that students who are healthy remain in school. We understand that there are extenuating circumstances that can impact student attendance. Every parent needs to make the best decision for his or her child(ren) in terms of participating in after-school student only activities. If your student needs to stay at home in self quarantine, parents should call the attendance line to report their health status/absence.

Lastly, the intense response to the COVID-19 pandemic can affect emotional wellbeing. We know this situation may be on the minds of our students. In addition to our students’ physical wellbeing, we value the emotional well-being of our students and community, and therefore recommend this resource for Talking to Children About COVID-19.

We want to keep you informed with the latest information on COVID-19 and the impact to our school community. The district will also continue to communicate with families through email, text and voicemail.


Tim Dittberner, Superintendent