Health & Safety
The health, safety and security of our students, staff, and community are our top priority, and Princeton Public Schools takes countless measures to provide safe and secure environments. We have various committees that help design our comprehensive plans that help ensure the health and safety of our school community. Plans include emergency preparedness, health and safety management, building security, and pandemic-related mitigation strategies. Please feel welcome to reach out to our building and grounds team, safety committee, or other administrators with questions or concerns in relation to the district's health and safety.
- Bloodborne Pathogens Plan
- Chemical Hygiene Plan
- Compressed Gas Plan
- Confined Space Plan
- Employee Right to Know
- Hearing Conservation Plan
- Lockout Tagout Plan
- COVID-19 Return to Learning Plan
- Program Coordinators | More Information
- Self Screening
- Social Distancing
- Face Coverings
- Hygiene Protocol
- Child Drop-Off, Pick-Up and Deliveries
- Nutrition Services
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Heating Venting and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Visitors, Volunteers and Activities
- COVID Testing Options
- The Superintendent of Schools has been identified as the district COVID-19 Program Coordinator.
- The Director or Principal at each site has been identified as the site COVID-19 Program Coordinator.
- The Licensed School Nurse has been identified as the district COVID-19 Program Reporter.
The site COVID-19 Program Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring all building staff are made aware of current operational procedures and future updates. District staff, under the direction of the Superintendent, will provide training and other information to all staff as part of orientation for new staff, at the beginning of the school year, and as needed throughout the calendar year.
All recommendations for this plan have been taken from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. As changes to recommendations arise, so will this plan. For updated information please access CDC Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning or MDH Schools and Childcare: COVID-19. If you have questions about anything in this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, please speak with your building principal. If you have further questions, contact the person most closely related to the issue you have questions about:
- Ben Barton, Superintendent, Ben.Barton@isd477.org
- Jason Senne, Human Resources, Jason.Senne@isd477.org
- Keith Barlage, Buildings & Grounds, Keith.Barlage@isd477.org
- Nicole Wyganowski, District Nurse, Nicole.Wyganowski@isd477.org
- Denise Jorgenson, Health & Safety Consultant, denise@MeridianConsult.net
All participants/families must confirm they have read and understand their responsibility to do a daily self-screen and follow the guidance prior to entering a district building or participating in activities.
Daily Wellness Self-Screen – Princeton Public Schools will utilize passive screening practices at all sites. Every child, visitor, or employee is expected to self-monitor for new symptoms of illness, including COVID-19, each day before arriving onsite.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, fatigue, congestion or runny nose, or loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms.
- Even after recovering from COVID-19, some people may have lingering symptoms such as fatigue, cough, or joint pain.
- Get tested if you have symptoms. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about symptoms.
- For more information visit CDC: Symptoms of COVID-19.
*Nursing services will be onsite to assist with assessments throughout the day as symptoms arise.
- In the event of a positive COVID-19 case, the district will no longer conduct contact tracing. We will seek assistance from Sherburne and Mille Lacs County Public Health for further investigation if a trend is established. The person with a positive case will be required to isolate for a minimum of 5 days from onset of symptoms or positive test, along with improved symptoms and no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine. Improvement of symptoms assumes the positive case can participate in all school/work activities safely and is not a disruption to others in the classroom or group due to disruption. A positive case then has the option of returning onsite masked days 6-10, or may remain home if mask adherence is not possible.
- In each school building, if the total number of influenza-like illnesses (ILI), including COVID-19, is over 5.0% of staff and students, quarantines for close contacts will be highly encouraged but not required.
- Per CDC and MDH, quarantine is no longer recommended for close contacts. Isolation of sick individuals will remain and recommendations will be followed for individuals onsite.
- All staff and students will be required to self-isolate when showing one common or two uncommon COVID-19 symptoms. They can return when they do not have symptoms for 24 hours (this includes no fever for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine), an alternate physician diagnosis or a negative test result.
- Students or staff who develop one common or two uncommon symptoms while at school will be masked and promptly sent home. Students will be required to wear a mask in the nurse’s office while waiting for pickup.
See COVID-19 Isolation Guide from the MN Department of Health.
- Per MDH and CDC recommendations, all those that enter Princeton Public Schools are strongly encouraged, but per district adopted policy, not required to wear a mask while in buildings at this time. This includes staff, students, and visitors. Families and staff are encouraged to make the best decision for them individually.
- Per MDH and CDC recommendations, all those that enter Princeton Public Schools will be subject to strict mask adherence to be eligible for shortened isolations, such as returning onsite day 6-10.
- If there is an outbreak in a classroom, building, or our region sees an increase in COVID-19 spread, we will work in conjunction with Sherburne and Mille Lacs County Public Health to consider changes to our masking practices. This may include masking a groups when a certain number is reached within a specific period, or if some students require additional protection due to susceptibility.
- We will continue to clean classrooms and common areas daily. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly.
- Disinfecting materials will be made available to all teachers.
- Custodial staff will disinfect classrooms and common areas scheduled.
- Principals and maintenance staff will do our best to accommodate reasonable requests from staff for barriers or mitigation strategies.
Princeton Public Schools expects that any person entering our buildings will perform passive screening practices when entering district buildings.
- Each morning, parents are encouraged to review health screening information with their child.
- There are designated doors for entering and exiting the building.
- All visitors enter and electronically sign our visitor management system, while practicing social distancing.
- Building staff will direct the visitor, as appropriate.
- Hand sanitizing options are available for visitors/students to use as they enter the building.
- If medications need to be dropped off, they will need to be in a sealed bag with medical providers orders and our form signed giving permission.
- Ideally, the same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the student (s) every day.
All deliveries, including in-district deliveries, are encouraged to be in a contact-free way. Procedures should be clearly communicated to visitors. Limit personal exchanges of materials to essential items, and wash your hands before and after each delivery or exchange of materials.
Staff and participants are expected to help clean their personal spaces, as well as shared surfaces and objects, on a daily basis. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies are provided for employees to use in accordance with product labels.
Avoid sharing cleaning equipment and tools, and disinfect shared tools and objects between uses.
Custodial employees will clean and disinfect the following frequently touched surfaces and objects routinely, depending on use:
- Door knobs and handles
- Classroom desks, tables, and chairs
- Lunchroom tables and chairs
- Light switches
- Handles on equipment
- Push-buttons on vending machines and elevators
All staff are expected to clean and disinfect surfaces and touch points, both personal and shared (e.g. keyboards, telephones, copiers).
The district follows all industry guidance recommendations. Fresh air recirculation and ventilation are properly maintained and monitored. Building mechanical systems are regularly evaluated to provide proper ventilation and healthy indoor air quality that meets EPA and ASHRAE standards.
The district follows all industry guidance recommendations. Fresh air recirculation and ventilation are properly maintained and monitored. Building mechanical systems are regularly evaluated to provide proper ventilation and healthy indoor air quality that meets EPA and ASHRAE standards. The district will alter as many settings as possible to promote the intake and circulation of fresh air in the school building while maintaining all code and standards that apply to public schools.
- Although there are recommended vaccinations for school entry, COVID-19 vaccinations are not one of them, and not required for staff or students.
- Staff vaccination requirements are not being considered at this time.
- Requiring vaccines for students would require changes to legislative language, found at MN Statute 121A.15. The Coronavirus vaccine is not currently listed. Unless that state language is changed, the coronavirus vaccine will not be required for students.
- Our school district will continue supporting staff, students, and the community in accessing vaccines, including sharing information on vaccinations and upcoming clinics.
- To start this school year, we will be slowly starting to have visitors and guests into the building. We will start by having volunteers through only organized groups. However, if levels of influenza-like illnesses (ILI), including COVID-19, reach 5% or greater, allowing visitors in a building will be temporarily suspended.
- Visitors to our schools are strongly recommended to wear a mask.
- Sporting events and extracurricular activities are currently open to the public but subject to change per Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), Sherburne/Mille Lacs County and CDC/MDH recommendations.
- If our region experiences an increase in COVID-19 spread, the district will work in conjunction with Sherburne and Mille LacsPublic Health and the School Board to consider changes to our visitor/volunteer practices.
In-person education and learning is critical to a child’s well-being and academic success. Testing in K-12 schools remains a powerful tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 as part of a broader COVID-19 mitigation strategy and will be offered to staff and students at Princeton Public Schools. As more tests become available Princeton will consider adding additional options. Current testing programs include:
- Students and staff can utilize the “School COVID-19 test at home program” to obtain a saliva test from a building health office, taking it at home with Zoom assist and returning it to the building for send off. The building will send off bulk tests daily. *Results are confidential and available in 3-5 days*
- Students and staff can utilize the "COVID-19 test at home program" to obtain a rapid test from any building health office, while supplies last.
- Students and Staff can utilize COVID-19 community testing sites across Minnesota. See Find Testing Locations for more information.
- Students and Staff can go to local retail stores, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics to obtain either an antigen or molecular test.
- Safety Committee
- Radon Gas Testing
- Lead in Water Testing
- Asbestos Notification
- Pesticide and Herbicide Application Notification
- Indoor Air Quality Notification
- District Items for Sale
- AED Locations
As part of Princeton Public Schools commitment to safety, it supports a Safety Committee that meets
bimonthly during the school year. The committee consists of representatives throughout the District.
Radon gas is found in soil, rocks, underground water supplies and in the air. Radon is often
associated with increased risk of developing lung cancer. The Minnesota Department of Health
(MDH) recommends schools test radon levels in occupied areas that are in contact with the ground.
In December 2020, as a part of the School District's ongoing Health and Safety Program, radon testing was completed at all sites.
The results show radon concentration levels were well below the MDH recommended guidelines.
Princeton Public Schools would like to inform all parents, staff, and community members that ISD #477 has a complete and updated Lead in Water Program in which the goal is to provide lead safe drinking water sources throughout all its facilities.
Lead is a heavy metal that usually enters water through distribution systems, including pipes, solder, fixtures, and valves. When ingested, it can interfere with brain development and lead to other health problems, especially in young children. Lead levels may increase when water sits undisturbed in the system. Hastings Schools has developed a routine testing program intended to identify the presence of lead in water and to reduce levels of lead as indicated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This program consists of periodic testing, following the testing protocol established by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education, and remediation.
Princeton Public Schools regularly samples water sources every five years, with the most recent being July 2019, and plans to continue on that schedule. If interested in discussing the Lead in Drinking Water program or test results, please contact the District’s contact person regarding Lead in Water, Keith Barlage, Buildings and Grounds Director, at 763-389-6187.
Additional information about Lead in Water, including what actions parents can take at home, can be found on the MDE website at https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/lead/
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires that each school district notify workers and building occupants annually regarding asbestos-related activities. Until the late seventies, asbestos was commonly used in commercial and residential building materials such as floor tile, fireproofing spray, and thermal system insulation used on pipes, tanks, and boilers.
All of our school buildings were inspected for asbestos-containing materials according to AHERA protocol, using state accredited inspectors. Management plans are continually updated and available for review by contacting the principal’s office at the following schools: Family Center, Princeton High School, Princeton Intermediate School and Princeton Student Services.
AHERA also requires that the district conduct surveillance inspections every six months to evaluate the condition of asbestos-containing materials and have a state certified inspector completely re-inspect our buildings every three years. This is done to ensure that these materials are maintained in a safe condition. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Department of Education have recommended that asbestos-containing materials be maintained in-place whenever possible. There was asbestos abatement at Princeton High School and Building and Grounds in the prior school year. If you have any questions regarding this matter, you may contact the District’s asbestos program administrator, Keith Barlage, Buildings and Grounds Director at 763-389-6187, or Michelle Czech, Director of Business Services at 763-389-6183.
A Minnesota law requires the district to inform parents and guardians that the district applies certain pesticides and herbicides on school property. The law requires the district to maintain an estimated schedule of pesticide applications and make the schedule available to parents and guardians for review. This schedule, as well as health and safety information on each chemical used for pesticide and herbicide application is now available at the Buildings and Grounds Office.
The law also requires that you be told that the long-term effects on children from the application of pesticides and herbicides or the class of chemicals to which they belong may not be fully understood. Further, the law does not “affect the duty of a parent or student to comply with the compulsory attendance law.” A parent or student may not use the application of pesticides or herbicides as a reason for a student not attending school. A commercial pest control company inspects each building quarterly and applies pesticides in affected areas on an as-needed basis, typically once per year in each building. No category I, II, or III pesticides are used. The estimated schedule for pesticide application for 2023-24 school year: October 19, 2023, December 28th 2023, April 1, 2024 and July 8th 2024.
Please keep in mind that these dates are subject to change. If you would like to be contacted prior to pesticide and herbicide application (excluding emergency applications) or if you have questions regarding this notice, you may contact the program administrator, Keith Barlage, Buildings and Grounds Director at 763-389-6187, or Michelle Czech, Director of Business Services at 763-389-6183.
The District has developed an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management Plan that contains information for concerned parents and staff regarding the air quality in the schools. This management plan also contains plans for addressing any known issues and locations where more information can be obtained. As specified by the requirements of the Minnesota Department of Education, the Princeton district is notifying all staff and parents that the IAQ Coordinator is Keith Barlage, Buildings and Grounds Director, who can be reached at 763-389-6187. Please contact the IAQ Coordinator if you should have any questions, concerns, or would like to view the IAQ Management Plan. In that person’s absence, you may contact Michelle Czech, Director of Business Services at 763-389-6183.
Additional information about Indoor Air Quality, including parental checklists for at home, can be found on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools.
The Princeton School District has taken a proactive approach to health and safety and will react to your concerns in a timely manner. Please feel free to utilize the Health and Safety Department as your resource for information or to express your concerns.