COVID-19 partial Archive of resources & communications


Keep Kids in School

  • March 18, 2022

    The Minnesota Department of Education has provided updated guidance on quarantine and isolation: "Throughout the pandemic, the Recommended COVID-19 Decision Tree for Schools, Youth Programs and Child Care Programs from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has helped determine when to direct children, families and staff to isolate and/or quarantine. This tool has been under review and was retired this week.

    The decision tree has been replaced with a Guide for Isolation and a Guide for Quarantine for schools, child care and youth programming. Each guide provides best practice recommendations for isolation and quarantine in alignment with CDC guidance. You can also visit If You Are Sick or Test Positive and Close Contacts and Quarantine for more information on isolation and quarantine."

    February 28, 2022

    ISD 748 families:

    Due to updated guidance from the CDC, students will no longer be required to wear masks/face coverings on school district transportation.

    Guidance from the CDC states that, “Effective February 25, 2022, CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion to not require that people wear masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs.”

    Our Safe Learning Plan has been updated to reflect this change in mitigation measures. 

    Thank you for continuing to work together to keep our students and staff healthy so we can maintain in-person learning.

    Dr. Jeff Ridlehoover
    Sartell-St. Stephen ISD 748


    January 13, 2022

    ISD 748 Families,

    After a conference with Stearns County Health today, we are updating the COVID-19 isolation guidance for ISD 748 students who have tested positive in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health. 

    Please note: This updates the information you received earlier today.  

    Effective beginning Friday, January 14:

    • Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 will begin a five-day isolation period from the onset of symptoms or testing date, whichever occurs first.

    • Individuals are eligible to return to sites on Day 6 if their symptoms have subsided and are fever-free for 24 hours without medication.

    • If students are ill, parents should continue to follow health guidelines and keep students home until their symptoms have improved.

    Why are things changing:

    • The CDC has released a short article on why they are recommending this change. You can read that article HERE.

    • The Minnesota Department of Health has supported this guidance from the CDC.

    We know this news will bring relief to many of our families as it reduces the amount of instruction time our students will miss. However, we must continue to move forward with caution and refrain from sending students to school while sick (even if they have passed the five-day quarantine period). 

    We do also want you to be aware that similar to what is happening in our community at large, we do have elevated case rates in some of our schools. Please keep your children home if they are ill. Working collaboratively to keep illness out of our schools is the single most effective strategy for allowing us to continue successful in-person education this school year. 

    Thank you all for your understanding and continued partnership, every day is a good day when we have students in-person in our schools! 

    Please visit Keep Kids in School for this updated information.

    Dr. Jeff Ridlehoover
    ISD 748 Superintendent


    October 8, 2021

    Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about ISD 748, students, and COVID-19

    Click here for local COVID-19 testing location options.


    September 7, 2021

    ISD 748 is utilizing layered mitigation strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.  Please review the current protocols here.

    Any changes to these protocols will be communicated on our COVID-19 webpage and to all families via Skylert.

Fall 2021 - Safe Learning Plan

  • August 18, 2021

    Sartell-St. Stephen ISD 748 families:

    On Monday, August 16, the Sartell-St. Stephen School Board approved the District 2021-2022 Safe Learning Plan. 

    The plan is based on current information from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education and requirements set forth by the Federal government and State of Minnesota.

    The Safe Learning Plan is effective as of the beginning of the school year (September 7, 2021) and during open houses at each school building. To view the entire plan, please click here or visit

    We will be emailing families updates on alternating Thursdays beginning Thursday, September 2.

    Thank you,

    Dr. Jeff Ridlehoover
    ISD 748 Superintendent

Helpful Resources

  • Home Screening Tools 

    Minnesota Department of Health

    • What to do if you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 link to PDF
    • What to do if you’re waiting for COVID-19 test results link to PDF
    • What to do if you have COVID-19 (how long you need to stay home) link to PDF 
    • Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) fact sheet link to PDF 
    • Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 webpage

    Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
    This website gives visual examples that helps people figure out how long they need to quarantine if they have been exposed

    - Resources from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health, and Stearns County Public Health. 

Age 12 & up eligible to receive vaccine

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expanded to all Minnesotans 12+
    Every Minnesotan 12 years of age and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The MN Department of Health (MDH)  is encouraging all eligible Minnesotans to sign up for the Vaccine Connector to get updates on vaccination opportunities in our area and be entered into the random selection process for the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites. 

    As a reminder, all Minnesotans age 12 and up are now eligible to receive a vaccine. At this time, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been studied and authorized for use by 12 - 17-year-olds. Data from Pfizer vaccine studies show the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. Other vaccine manufacturers are also studying their vaccines in younger age groups but have not yet received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has created a resource with information about COVID-19 vaccines for youth.


More Info & Resources

Family Mental Health Resources

  • Please visit our Family Mental Health Resources page for contact information for our building counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals in addition to resources.  Additional resources for mental health support are on our Student Support Services webpage (under Health Services).

Contact Us

Learning Model Decision Making

CDC - Coronavirus

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

CentraCare Resources 2020-2021

  • March 3, 2021 CentraCare Update
    'Clarifying COVID' Offering Education on Pandemic
    CentraCare has partnered with to provide up-to-date education on COVID-19 through their weekly Q&A web series "Clarifying COVID." In the last two weeks, CentraCare has been able to help answer questions including:
    • Is there a chance we could see another surge of cases in the spring and summer?
    • What about children? When will they get vaccinated?
    • What do we need to know about COVID variants?
    COVID-19 Testing Options
    Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shared their recommendation that all youth returning to in-person learning, youth participating in sports or extracurricular activities get tested every two weeks until the end of the school year. MDH says that while it is not a requirement, regular testing complements other safety measures already in place, such as masking and social distancing. We want you to be aware of the testing options available to you through CentraCare and MDH.
    COVID-19 Test at Home  
    January 7, 2021 CentraCare Update
    COVID-19 Vaccine

    Right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is available for health care personnel and long-term care residents. But we understand your staff members and school families have many questions about the vaccine’s availability and future distribution to essential workers and the general public. 

    Some answers to frequently asked questions can be found on CentraCare’s website. We look forward to providing more details in the coming weeks as recommendations for vaccine distribution are released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
    Sports and Face Coverings
    Another hot topic right now – sports and face covering safety. MDH is requiring student athletes to wear a mask while playing sports. Overall, the vast majority of kids can safely wear a mask during athletics. There are very few exceptions to this recommendation.
    • MDH allows cloth masks, neck gaiters, bandanas, scarves and religious face coverings – as long as there are two layers.
    • The key is finding a mask that fits best. This helps ensure your child will wear it.
    • If a face covering becomes saturated, it should be changed immediately. Experts say a wet face covering can interfere with breathing.
    If your child is having difficulty breathing while playing sports, including athletes with asthma, you should consult a doctor about whether they are healthy enough to participate. More information on the risks and benefits of playing sports during the pandemic can be found here.  
    -Dr. George Morris
    December 16, 2020 CentraCare Update
    For months, our health care workers have been on the front lines of this pandemic. As you know firsthand, schools have been disrupted creating stress for teachers, staff, parents and, most importantly, our children. We’ve had to sacrifice our way of life. But finally, some good news surrounding COVID-19 – a vaccine.

    "There hasn’t been a lot of time in the past year that has been very hopeful. The possibility of a COVID vaccine coming soon is really something we can be hopeful about," said CentraCare pediatrician Dr. Jill Amsberry.
    While it will be a few months before the vaccine will be available to the public, Dr. Amsberry gives us an update and the hope that vaccines bring.
    December 9, 2020 CentraCare Update
    We know almost everyone is now in a distance learning situation, just like last spring. For parents, the term “juggling act” has taken on a whole new meaning in 2020. They could be working from home. The children are distance learning. Household chores are piling up. And the number of COVID-19 cases remains concerning. Gary Wallinga, PhD, LP, gives tips on how to help children while also allowing parents to maintain their sanity. Click here to read and share these tips.

    With kids at home and inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have struggled to find the right limit for their child's gaming, especially when they already have screen time for schoolwork. Now the arrival of new PlayStation and Xbox consoles and winter weather, finding this balance will not be any easier in the coming months. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Kelly Woods notes some signs when gaming is becoming unhealthy for your child and how to set rules at home. Click here for more.

    -Dr. George Morris
    December 2, 2020 CentraCare update
    When the pandemic caused shutdowns in the spring, we thought life would be back to normal by the fall. It made dealing with social disruptions a little easier.  Now, nine months later, schools are moving to distance learning and extracurricular activities are being cancelled … again. This can be difficult for kids and teens to deal with. For tips on how to help children and adolescents cope during this stressful time, read this blog from CentraCare’s Gary Wallinga, PhD, LP.

    If parents believe their child or teen needs additional support, CentraCare is offering virtual behavioral health visits. New and current patients are welcome. Learn more here
    or schedule an appointment by calling 320-255-6677.  As always, thank you for helping us keep our communities safe. 

    -Dr. George Morris
    November 18, 2020  CentraCare update
    Our situation has drastically changed over this past week. The exponential growth is impacting our ability to meet all of the needs of our communities and the health of our staff. We know you are seeing this impact too with many districts moving to distance learning. There are many resources out there if you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. Testing is widely available. Recommendations for quarantine are clear and communicated. But what if COVID-19 is affecting you and your family’s mental health?

    It may feel like this topic isn’t receiving enough attention. That’s why we gathered information from Dr. Lori Listug-Lunde about the impacts of this pandemic on mental health. Dr. Listug-Lunde specializes in Child & Adolescent Psychology and outlined some stress warning signs and ways to cope in her recent blog.

    As mentioned before, information about COVID-19 is everywhere. In your news feed. In conversations with family and friends. But what is myth versus fact? 
    MYTHS: I’m immune to COVID-19. I will get the virus if I go to the hospital or clinic. COVID-19 can’t survive in the cold weather. 

    FACTS: Evidence does not support these claims. This misinformation can cause serious harm. Don’t let myths keep you from protecting yourself during this pandemic. 

    Please help us spread this video – not the virus – to make sure our community stays safe.
    Community Spread
    As we enter the holiday season, we are also experiencing large community spread of COVID-19 – especially in young patients and younger adults. According to this WCCO article that features CentraCare pediatrician Dr. Jill Amsberry, COVID case investigations seem to prove the younger, often asymptomatic population, is playing a big role in the community spread the state has seen recently.

    A Message from St. Cloud Hospital Frontline Workers
    Please view this video from our St. Cloud Hospital frontline workers.
    Myth vs. Fact
    CentraCare: We also know there is a lot of information out there about COVID-19. That’s why we started this partnership. To be a reliable source of knowledge for you and your school families. Help us spread the word, not the virus, on what is a myth and what is fact about COVID-19 by sharing this short video.
    Taking Care of our Neighbors
    We also know it’s getting increasingly difficult to remain cautious while we battle COVID-19 in our communities. But we need to remember – safety precautions like masking and social distancing protect people like 82-year-old Patricia Smith-Baehr. She was at St. Cloud Hospital for six days with COVID-19 and shared her story. Safety measures not only protect our vulnerable populations – they keep our health care workers safe so they can better serve you. By doing our part, we help ensure there are enough beds in our hospitals to serve COVID-positive patients and others needing medical treatment.  
    Halloween Tips
    View a video message from Dr. George Morris: Please take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you choose to go out trick or treating.
    • Wear a cloth mask or bandana as part of your costume – don’t rely on costume masks. Small children should not double up on masks.
    • Practice social distancing while trick or treating. Do not gather at houses.
    • Think of creative ways to give out candy from a distance, like hanging candy bags from your tree for trick or treaters to take.
    Online scheduling for COVID-19 tests
    No more wait times. Now, you can make an appointment online for a COVID-19 test at one of our curbside testing locations.  Patients will be given the option to make an appointment based on time and location. CentraCare offers curbside COVID-19 testing services in St. Cloud and several additional communities in Central Minnesota.
    Second COVID-19 surge
    View a video message from Dr. George Morris: “This is a time for caution. We know that by doing things safer, we can impact the spread of COVID. We can do this. We can do this better by acting as one community.” From CentraCare: "During this second COVID-19 surge, we are seeing more community spread. People are getting exposed at small gatherings, while at work or participating in activities. In order to keep our schools and businesses open, we need to dial back social gatherings and consider virtual options while being diligent about masking, social distancing, and hygiene."  October 21, 2020
    COVID-19 or Seasonal Flu?
    CentraCare’s Dr. Kimberly Tjaden shared a blog to help people navigate flu season while also dealing with COVID-19. What are some distinct differences between the two illnesses? Dr. Tjaden said, “The symptoms are very similar between COVID and influenza, but loss of taste and smell is unique to COVID. COVID-19 also may take longer to develop symptoms — up to 2 weeks after exposure. Influenza usually develops 1-4 days after exposure.”
    Boost your immune system
    Dr. George Morris provides an update (a steady increase of COVID-19 cases in our communities along with numbers of hospitalizations and ICU patients) along with steps you can take to protect yourself and your family, including ways to boost your immune system as we start to enter flu season.
Last Modified on April 12, 2023