Dear Jack & Jill Families:
Jack & Jill Early Childhood Learning is participating in a COVID-19 testing screening program being piloted by the State of Minnesota COVID-19 Testing and Education and Child Care Workgroup. As COVID-19 continues to spread, Minnesota is continually expanding testing options and working to remove barriers so each and every Minnesotan can access testing. Experts agree that testing is a way to identify, contain and stop the spread of the virus – this is especially true of 15 to 35-year-old Minnesotans who are more likely to spread the disease unknowingly, with no symptoms. Child care providers have been on the front lines since the beginning of this pandemic; every single day coming to work and risking virus exposure to educate our youngest Minnesotans, care for families, and respond to community needs. The goal of this program is to ensure child care providers and staff are prioritized in state efforts to increase testing on a screening basis (especially among those who are asymptomatic), which further supports our efforts to prioritize the health of children and families.
Jack & Jill has volunteered to participate in a screening testing pilot.
- Staff will participate in regular testing weekly or every other week regardless of symptoms through the end of 2020; in many cases the first testing experience will be done with nurses onsite
- If staff are not symptomatic, do not live with a symptomatic individual, and are not a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case they do not need to stay home or be quarantined while awaiting test results;
- Testing will occur onsite so staff can access it during normal work hours;
- The State of Minnesota will pay for any testing not covered by insurance; and
- If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, close contacts of that individual (including other staff or children) will follow public health guidance to quarantine, which would include closing affected classrooms for 14 days.
Increased testing, especially of those who are asymptomatic, helps to identify and prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Testing options for your family
Minnesota has opened testing sites across the state that are available at mn.gov/covid19. All COVID-19 testing is free at a Minnesota Department of Health community testing site. Some sites will offer saliva testing, others will offer nasal swab testing. Appointments are recommended to decrease wait times but walk-ins welcome. Minnesota also offers free, at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for people who believe they need to be tested, with or without symptoms.
We appreciate your patience with your child care program as they join this pilot. While this screening program may uncover some positive cases that require classrooms to be temporarily closed, it is all in the interest of keeping our communities as safe as possible. Thank you for all you are doing to keep each other and our child care programs safe.
Additional questions around parent guidance, resources, and other information can be found at mn.gov/childcare.
Erin Bailey Co-Lead, Education & Child Care COVID Workgroup Covid.Childcare@state.mn.us