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Paladin’s COVID Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan

We are #PaladinStrong!
Click here for Paladin’s 2021-22 Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan

Paladin Summer Update – COVID Safety Plan – August 24, 2021

UPDATE: AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN (ESSER III) REQUIRED REPORTING – June 17, 2021

As recipients of funding associated with the American Rescue Plan (commonly referred to as ESSER III), Paladin is required to report a Safe Return to In-Person Learning plan on our district website. This plan has been developed with community input, and must be posted prior to June 21, 2021 within 30 days of receiving the ESSER III award. The purpose of this plan is to “maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.”

Paladin Career & Technical High School posted its original Paladin Strong Safe Learning Plan outlining its adaptation of the Minnesota Department of Education Safe Learning Plan on August 20, 2020. Community members representing Paladin’s various advisory committees were invited to provide commentary about the drafted plan during the summer of 2020.

The Paladin community had the opportunity to submit public comments to the Paladin Leadership Team and at school board meetings leading up to and occurring throughout the 20-21 school year. Board Meeting minutes include summaries of comments related to health and safety of students on campus. The Paladin Strong Safe Learning Plan continues to be updated with the most current guidance/recommendations from the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education. This plan will be reviewed regularly, at least every six months, and we will seek additional public comment on proposed revisions.

The Paladin School Board will hear any further public comments regarding the Safe Return to In-Person Learning plan at their regularly scheduled Board Meeting on June 24, 2021 at 7:30 am. If the public has any further comment beyond that date, they can contact Executive Director Brandon Wait.

COVID-19 Testing
Paladin students will have the option of testing on-site in the building, taking a kit home and returning it the next day to be shipped, or rapid testing for students experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Students under the age of 18 must have parent/guardian consent to participate in on-site testing. Please submit this form for your child to participate in on-site testing.

Thank you for helping keep our students in school by slowing the spread of COVID-19!

In-Person Learning at Paladin:

Paladin Face Covering Update

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have all recommended that students, teachers, and staff wear masks during school. However, at this time, there is no statewide mandate for schools to mask, leaving the decision to each individual district or charter school. As Paladin prepares for our fall in-person opening, we have considered a number of factors that include the number of students and staff currently vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, we are monitoring current rates of transmission within the area and other potential risk factors unique to our community.  Therefore, Paladin will require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status starting Sept. 7th.  Paladin will provide masks to students who need them.  Masks are also federally required on public transportation and school vans. 

Paladin understands that our decision to require universal masking has pleased many families while upsetting, even angering others. In this case, the “why” is essential.

The Why? Our primary objective is to ensure uninterrupted in-person learning for our students. Last year, students considered “close contacts” to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 had to be quarantined for fourteen days. New guidelines do not require “close contacts” to quarantine if vaccinated or if both parties were wearing a mask. This means that students should have more consistency in their school experience. This is the best way to maximize our in-person learning for all.

Paladin will review our universal masking requirement regularly. We will consider local infection trends, vaccination rates, and overall influenza-like illness data in determining when the face mask requirement can be removed.

Our decision was based on expert advice from public health agencies and following the latest guidance put forth by the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, and the CDC.

Finally, we recognize that many neighboring districts have made different decisions. Without statewide directives, school districts have local control to determine the best strategy for their community. We respect the independent decisions of other districts.

COVID-19 Safety Measures / GPS Ionization Generator

As students return to school facilities they’ll have visible reminders of social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and systems in place to protect their health and maximize safety. Paladin has installed a GPS Ionization Generator. Should COVID-19 be present in our school facility, the system will eliminate 99.4% of the virus within 30 minutes, 92.6% within 15 minutes, and 84.2% within 10 minutes. 

Social distancing of 3 feet will be expected as conditions allow. This will continue to be monitored and could change based on conditions in the school setting.

COVID-19 Symptoms Guide | COVID-19 Screening Guide
Paladin Face Covering Policy | Face Covering Exemption Form
Quarantine/Isolation Decision Making Model | Decision Tree

Paladin’s COVID-19 Coordinator: Maria Hartwell (763.786.4799 Maria.Hartwell@Paladincareertech.com)

Our planning is guided by these principles:

  1. RELATIONSHIPS FIRST – Model empathy for the wide diversity of situations for our students and staff, and create ways to connect with them to support their academic, physical, mental health and social-emotional needs.
  2. EQUITABLE ACCESS – Plans will support the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. Students must have access to technology and internet service to fully participate in all of the scenarios.
  3. INNOVATIVE TOOLS & PRACTICES – We will use what tools we have available and seek new ways to engage our learners providing a quality learning experience.
  4. SUPPORTIVE STANCE – We will be relentless in our attention to equity and relationships first by engaging and connecting with our student learners, supporting the social and emotional needs of our students, and supporting our students and families during this difficult time with needed supplies.
  5. MONITOR AND ADJUST – This is not business as usual. We will be flexible and make timely adjustments as needed based on feedback in our pursuit of continuous improvement.
  6. REASONABLE CONSISTENCY – Students, staff and families need a certain level of predictability. We will make every effort to provide reasonable consistency in instructional and operational practices while still maintaining flexibility.
  7. GIVE OURSELVES GRACE –This experience is historic. Even with the best planning, mistakes will be made. We will monitor, adjust and continuously improve.

The MDE Safe Learning Plan provides a framework for schools, based on the number of coronavirus cases and on public health data within each county. Paladin serves students from across six counties, with the majority of students from Anoka, Hennepin, and Ramsey counties. We will be monitoring the latest numbers from those counties as they become available and will use data-driven research in our decision making.

Paladin’s COVID Response Decision-Making Process

In addition to the county-level data, when making decisions about our COVID response / learning model, Paladin will take into account the number of confirmed positive cases, the number of people needing to quarantine, the percentage of vaccinated students and staff at Paladin, and the level of influenza or COVID-like illness in the school community. We will continue to assess information about the conditions at Paladin, including implementation of health best practices in instructional settings (such as mask wearing and appropriate spacing of students), instructional preparedness, facility and transportation capacity, and engagement and communications with local stakeholders.

Paladin’s instructional model will change throughout the year based on a number of circumstances. Paladin will not have the capacity to offer in-person, blended, and online learning simultaneously, therefore the expectation is that paladin students will participate in whichever model Paladin is adhering to at that time. Using a scalpel-like approach, we will weigh case rates at Paladin and its surrounding communities, as well as other data, when making our determinations. Decision-making guidance from Minnesota Department of Health can be found here.

We want to reassure you that our health and safety practices, PPE policies, frequent cleaning, air quality control, and disease prevention plans will be in accordance with the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Education and Paladin will be providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for all students and staff, which includes two PPEs (cloth face-covering for all students and staff).

Together, we are Paladin Strong!

How Minnesotans Can Get Their Vaccine at No Cost: There is no cost for the vaccine. Minnesotans do not need to provide a Government issued ID or medical insurance to be vaccinated, and no question on immigration status is ever asked. 

All Minnesotans who are age 12 years or older are eligible to get vaccinated. 

The CDC also recommended that everyone age 12 and older get vaccinated. As of August 22nd, 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval by the FDA for use by people age 12 and older. Other vaccine manufacturers are also studying their vaccines in younger age groups but have not yet received full authorization.

Vaccine Connector: You can directly sign up for an appointment at one of the state Community Vaccination Program locations at VaccineConnector.mn.gov.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program brings easy, free, and safe vaccine opportunities to familiar community settings. 

MSP Terminal 2 (open to general public) and MSP Terminal 1 (terminal access required) are administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine through September 21, 2021. Walk-ins and appointments are welcome.

Walk-ins and appointments for Minnesotans age 12-and-older are available at the Bloomington (Mall of America) community vaccination site, which is administering the Pfizer vaccine. Parent or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination for people younger than 18 years old.

To find a vaccination location near you, use the Find Vaccine Locations map

Health Care Provider: You can also contact your child’s primary health care provider, local public health department, or a local pharmacy.

Food & Nutrition Support

Paladin Meals – Coordinate meal needs with our Food & Nutrition Manager, Lakina Davis. You can reach her at 763-786-4799 or lakina.davis@paladincareertech.com

Additional Resources:
Second Harvest Heartland
Hunger Solutions
Anoka County Food Shelves
ACBC food shelf: 763-422-0046
SACA: 763-789-2444
Food Programs & Restaurants
SNAP benefits
Hunger Impact Partners – Food for every child

Other Resources and Website Links:

Staying Connected — Many internet service providers have reduced or free access to the internet for qualifying families. Let us know if you need support getting internet. Please start the process here: 

As always, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We also want to ensure every child has access to the education they need and deserve.

A public charter school serving students in grades 9 – 12