Benilde-St Margaret’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparation and Response Plan
The following information outlines our school’s preparedness and response plan for addressing COVID-19, as well as a list of helpful resources. We continue to monitor and review relevant information provided by governmental agencies and make decisions accordingly. We will continue to keep our community informed as updates become available in the days and weeks ahead.
6/26/2020: 2020-21 School Year Update from BSM - Over the past two months, preparations for the 2020-21 school year have taken on new meaning as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our world. Recommendations and guidelines to mitigate risk at the personal and organizational level change significantly and regularly, which of course impacts schools. A parent letter was sent out on Friday as a way to remain in communication with the BSM community about the planning processes that are taking place as we remain focused on our mission and delivering an exceptional holistic, faith based education for our students on the BSM campus beginning in August.
4/23/20: Extended Online School in Effect Through End of Academic Year - On Thursday, April 23, Governor Tim Walz announced the extension of school building closures through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority. To that end, BSM is extending EOS 2.0 through the end of the academic year. A parent letter was sent out on Thursday. In addition, the Minnesota State High School League announced the cancellation of all spring sports, activities, and fine arts through the end of the season. Learn more in MSHSL's announcement and press release.
3/25/20: Extended Online School in Effect Until May 4 - Governor Tim Walz issued a temporary Stay at Home executive order for the state of Minnesota until Friday, April 10, as well as an extension of school building closures until Monday, May 4, 2020.
In accordance with the new public health order, we will be extending Extended Online School until May 4. In addition, the cancellation of all in person BSM activities, athletics, events, and co-curriculars remains in effect during that time frame, aside from the exceptions listed below.
- Prom: Postponed. New date and venue to be determined.
- April Admissions Open House: Will Move to Virtual Platform.
- Senior Alumni Breakfast: Will Move to Virtual Platform.
- Day of Giving: Will be Held Virtually
A parent letter was sent on March 25. Read the letter here.
3/15/20: Building Closed Beginning Tuesday, March 17: To prepare for Extended Online School, students must pick up any essential materials on Monday, March 16 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The building will be closed starting Tuesday, with Extended Online School beginning Wednesday, March 18. A letter was sent to parents on March 15. Read the letter here. Visit our EOS Resource page here.
Activities, Athletics, and Events, Postponed Until Further Notice: All athletics, activities (including all practices and games), co-curricular activities, banquets, events, and community service opportunities have been postponed effective immediately until further notice.
- RKVC and Discipleship in Society Information: We will be waiving the service requirements for all students in Discipleship in Society and RKVC from now until April 3, 2020, at which point we will reassess the situation and communicate further direction. Watch for an email from respective advisors.
3/13/20 - Extended Online School in Effect: As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to impact communities, BSM will be moving to an Extended Online School learning platform. A letter was sent to parents on March 13. Read the letter here. Visit our EOS Resource page here.
3/12/20 - Parent Teacher Conference Update: We have made the decision to change the format for Parent/Teacher Conferences for Friday, March 13. Instead of hosting parents on campus in person, parents will be invited to reach out to teachers via email. While face to face conferences are always our preference, the decision was made in accordance with MDH recommendations regarding large community gatherings. To provide teachers with more time to respond to emails, school will not be in session Friday. A letter was sent to parents on March 12. Read the letter here.
Proactive Measures Taken by BSM
- Implementing Extended Online School - As the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to impact communities, BSM will be moving to an Extended Online School learning environment. A parent letter was sent on March 13. Read the letter here.
- Canceling or Postponing Activities, Athletics, and Events - The cancellation of all BSM activities, athletics, events, and co-curriculars remains in effect during that time frame, aside from the following exceptions: Prom: Postponed. New date and venue to be determined. - April Admissions Open House: Will Move to Virtual Platform. - Senior Alumni Breakfast: Will Move to Virtual Platform. - Day of Giving: Will be Held Virtually
- Monitoring Health Conditions of Students and Employees: BSM continues to monitor the health conditions of students and employees as necessary to keep abreast of any potential presence of an infectious illness, including the COVID-19 virus, and make decisions accordingly. Read about COVID-19 symptoms on the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) website here.
- Daily Cleaning of Facility: As a general practice, our Building Services Department cleans our facilities and classrooms daily. In recent weeks, we delivered Clorox wipes to all BSM classrooms, and our plan includes enhanced cleaning procedures.
- Working to Stop the Spread of Germs: Students received information on the importance of good hand washing hygiene and how to help stop the spread of germs, which is always best practice. We’ve also reminded students to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Monitoring reliable sources of information: As per our school safety plan, the administrative team meets regularly to monitor and review relevant information and make decisions in a timely fashion. This includes participation in a weekly group phone call with the MDH that is designed specifically for school leaders and health office staff.
- Supporting Students: Faculty and staff are mindful that some students may experience anxiety in relation to the COVID-19 virus and related news stories. Staff knows to reach out to students who appear to be struggling and refer them to a Guidance Counselor. If you would like to reach out directly to your son or daughter's guidance counselor, you can click here to find contact information.
- Ongoing Communication: We will continue to update our families, students, and faculty/staff via email, phone, our website, and on social media in the coming weeks and months as the situation evolves.
What Parents/Guardians and Staff Can Do to Help
- Social Distancing: Current recommendations continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing. This means avoiding close contact with others, as well as group gatherings. To that end, we ask that faculty/staff and students refrain from getting together in large groups over the next three weeks to help prevent the spreading of germs.
- Help Stop the Spread of Germs: As with any infectious illness, we encourage you and your family to try to avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your cough, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay Home If Sick (When In-Person Classes are in Session): As always, BSM recommends that people stay home when sick. These recommendations are especially important during cold and flu season. This not only protects the individual, but others who may come in contact with them.
- As usual, parents are asked to call the Attendance Office (Senior High 952-927-4177 and Junior High 952-915-4356) if your son or daughter will be absent from school. Please indicate if your student has flu-like symptoms, including a fever.
- For seniors, the attendance requirement for Skip-A-Final is being waived this year. Expectations for grades and discipline are still in place. Contact Mrs. Cami Dahlstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions. CLICK HERE to view the requirements.
- Consider Limiting Travel: We know that families engage with a wide range of people while traveling, particularly when it comes to domestic and international travel. With Spring Break taking place from March 23-27, family travel will likely increase exponentially. BSM would not ask anyone to alter travel plans; however, know that travel during this time could add to the risk of student and employee exposure to the virus when in person class is back in session. The Center for Disease Control has posted additional information for travelers here.
- Travel Guidelines: If you do travel, please review and follow the guidelines that have been published by the CDC.
- Please pay special attention to CDC protocols for those who have visited a “High Risk Country.” It is important to be aware that if you or your student(s) has traveled in the past 14 days to countries designated by the CDC as high risk: which at this point is China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea, you must notify your school immediately and NOT return to school pending further instruction. This directive is regardless of whether you or anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms.
- Learn more about the virus from reliable sources: Read about COVID-19 symptoms on the MDH website here and review information being provided by the CDC.
If a BSM Student, Visitor, or Faculty/Staff Member Has a Confirmed Case of COVID-19
- Contact Senior High Principal Susan Skinner at email@example.com or Junior High Principal Rikki Mortl at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
- BSM would contact the MDH in the event of an exposure and take appropriate action based on guidelines, direction provided, and best practice. If in-person classes were in session, “Extended Online School” would be implemented for a period of time.
- BSM would communicate with you as appropriate to provide general information and guidance. Our practice would be to not release the name of anyone who has a confirmed case.
BSM’s Response Plan in Event of Confirmed Case
- If we receive notification that a student, faculty/staff member, or visitor has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the school would move to an online learning environment. The length of time would be determined based on when the case was confirmed. It is likely our building would stay closed for a two-week period.
- Athletics and co-curricular activities would be cancelled during this same time period. Teams would not be permitted to meet off campus.
- The school building would not be open to students, faculty, or staff during a closure. Students would not be allowed to enter the building under any circumstance. School staff will be picking up mail directly from the Post Office.
- If the building were to be closed, the main phone line would be answered during regular Main Office Hours (Mon-Thursday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.).
- It is reasonable to expect that BSM Faculty and Staff members will be responding to emails during the regular work day.
- We will communicate decisions with families via phone, e-mail, and on our website - as we do in any situation that alters the regular school day (ie severe weather, etc.).
- Should BSM move to an online learning environment, we advise that students limit large group gatherings outside of the Extended Online School day to help limit exposure.
- We advise all students and faculty/staff to bring laptops, and any necessary work-related items home with them each night and especially before they depart for Spring Break in the event we move to Extended Online School.
- Expectations for students and teachers regarding “Extended Online School” would be published on this page and will be emailed to students and parents when and if the decision is made to close the school building.
- BSM will continue to monitor information that is provided to us by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other governmental agencies as appropriate. Additionally, we’ve included a list of helpful resources below.
If you have further questions about our preparedness plan, we ask that you address them to:
- President, Adam Ehrmantraut, at email@example.com or 952-927-4176 ext. 2416.
- Senior High Principal, Susan Skinner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-915-4357 ext. 2413 and
- Junior High Principal, Rikki Mortl, at email@example.com or 952-927-4176 ext. 2436
- BSM Counselor Jules Nolan is available to help answer questions related to student anxiety around COVID-19. You can contact Jules at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-426-4297.
If you have questions about COVID-19 itself, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at 651-201-5414.