August 26, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I cannot say how excited the Leeds Public School administrators, teachers and staff are to welcome everyone back to school. We so much enjoy seeing everyone’s smiling faces again!
While Leeds School’s main focus remains high quality education for all, I feel it is appropriate to take a minute to discuss COVID and what that means for our school year.
As of right now, masks are optional. Please be assured, if you would like your child to wear a mask at any time, we will assist your child in making sure your wishes are carried out. As a team, we will not allow a child wearing a mask to be subjected to teasing or bullying in any shape or form. We respect your family’s decision and will work to instill that respect in other students as well.
Currently, the state of North Dakota does not perform contact tracing for individuals who are positive for COVID. That responsibility falls on the positive individual or that individual’s parents/guardians. Leeds School will continue to work with local health officials and the NDDOH when possible, however there are many challenges and constraints to contract tracing and Leeds School cannot cover all of these requirements.
It is the belief at Leeds School that parents/guardians should be notified as soon as possible if their child has been exposed to COVID or considered a close contact. The North Dakota Department of Health defines a close contact as someone who was within six feet for a total of at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period of someone who has COVID-19 (48 hours prior to their onset of symptoms; for asymptomatic cases, 48 hours prior to the date they were tested). If your child is a close contact as defined by the NDDOH, you will be notified within the same day of OUR notification. Be aware, state notifications of positive test results are currently taking between 24 to 36 hours.
If determined a close contact, it is recommended that close contacts quarantine for 10 days without testing or 7 days if they test negative for COVID. Adults and children who are vaccinated do not need to quarantine if exposed to COVID but should monitor symptoms for 14 days from date of exposure. We are diligently working on providing families with two options should their students be identified as a close contact.
- Option 1: student quarantines at home while switching over to distant learning until they are able to return to school.
- Option 2: BinaxNOW tests available and with parent/guardian permission, students could be tested every day or every other day at a minimum with a BinaxNOW test until the end of serial testing on day 7. As long as the student is negative on each test and remains symptom free, they may continue face-to-face education.
- Please note, the BinaxNOW test is the least invasive COVID test out there. It is the size of a Q-tip and no more than the cotton end is inserted into the nares. This sample collection is rather simple and no different than a child picking their nose. Most children could do it themselves while an adult talks them through it.
Option two will be offered at Leeds School pending grant approval. Once approved, we will be able to offer this option to every student at no cost.
Leeds School Covid Team and the School Board will continue to review and update the Leeds Public School Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan to adjust to COVID-19 situations within our school.
Our goal is to have healthy, educated children and we look forward to working with all our families on achieving this goal.
Leeds School Principal
Benson County Wildcats Athletic Director
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