Please continue to report COVID-19 positive tests and close contacts during distance learning

Dear families, 

It remains our hope that we can return to some form of in-person learning in the near future. In order to make this possible, we are asking that you continue to inform us when your student tests positive for COVID-19 or is designated as a close contact to someone who does test positive. 

Please inform your school building if your student tests positive or is designated as a close contact. Although we eventually do get some information from the Minnesota Department of Health, the data is often delayed or incomplete, and we expect this problem will continue to worsen as the number of cases in our state continue to rise.

We also strongly encourage all of our families to comply with contact tracers or other public health officials. This information is critical to not only keeping our communities healthy and safe, but it will help Winona Area Public Schools and other groups and organizations to make informed, confident decisions in the future.

Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit has started a Weekly Q and A, and this week's topic featured the importance of continuing to report positive tests and close contact information. Director of Human Resources Emily Solheid, the district's COVID-19 coordinator, joined Dr. Freiheit on the Q and A. You can watch it below:

Free testing services

There are a couple of ways to get a free test for COVID-19 in Winona. 

There is a free testing site located in the back of the Winona Mall, 1213 Gilmore Ave., Winona. The testing center is located near the DMV (southwest corner), facing Highway 61. The entrance is on the outside of the mall.

The testing center is open from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There is no testing on Monday or Tuesday. 

Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s better to schedule an appointment at this link.

Learn more at this link.

The Minnesota Department of Health also announced last week that it will offer free at-home saliva testing for any person who wants to be tested. More information about this partnership with Vault Medical Services is available on Minnesota Department of Health’s website, including information on how to order the test.

The state is strongly encouraging people between the ages of 18 and 35 to get tested now, especially if you are in school or planning to see family members over the holidays.

Mental health resources

We also want to draw your attention to free mental health resources available in our community. Engage Winona, a local nonprofit, manages a website called Winona Resources, which compiles a list of groups and organizations who are offering help during this time. 

There is a list of mental health resources available at this time, including the Hiawatha Valley Crisis Line (1-844-CRISIS2). If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate assistance, the Crisis Response line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your student is also encouraged to reach out to a school counselor or school social worker if they need additional assistance. Their contact information is available at this link.

Thank you,

Winona Area Public Schools