Parents of Esko Public Schools students have a better idea what to expect when children return to school thanks to a letter sent to parents Wednesday, Aug. 11, from Superintendent Aaron Fischer outlining the district's COVID-19 policies.

Fischer stated in the letter that the district is "continuing to review this guidance while working with our local public health experts to determine how best to implement these recommendations."

As of Wednesday, the district plans to highly encourage, but not require, indoor masking for students and staff in Esko school buildings. Due to the federal executive order which requires masking on all forms of public transportation, students and staff will be required to wear face coverings on all forms of school transportation.

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COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended for all people 12 years old and older, but proof of vaccination will not be required to attend school.

The district plans to remain committed to providing full-time, in-person learning and will resume the pre-pandemic schedule. Students will attend classes five full days a week with a 2:30 p.m. early dismissal for staff development purposes on Wednesdays. No half-day dismissals on Mondays will be required.

No distance learning options will be available for students.

Other quarantine procedures will be finalized and shared with parents prior to the start of school. The letter states that students and staff who are sick should stay home and to notify the school right away if a student tests positive for COVID-19 as the schools must report positive cases to the Minnesota Department of Health. Students and staff who test positive should isolate for 10 days from symptom onset.