Positive COVID-19 cases among Eden Prairie Schools staff and students took a sharp turn upward in the two-week period ending Jan.7.
A total of 435 staff and students have reported positive cases in the two weeks since Dec. 24. That breaks down to 143 in pre-K to 5th grade, 215 in grades 6-12, and 77 staff.
There were 75 reported cases in the two-week period ending Dec. 31.
On New Year’s Eve, the district announced that all staff and students would be required to wear face coverings upon returning to school on Jan. 3 and continue to do so until Jan. 27. Students were out of school from Dec. 23 until Jan. 3 for winter break.
Eden Prairie Schools began the 2021-22 school year with students in grades pre-K through 6th required to wear face coverings indoors at school. That decision reflected the fact that children younger than 12 were not eligible at that time to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The policy remained unchanged as children ages 5 and up became eligible. Case rates had risen slightly during the fall but had been mostly flat.
The omicron variant of COVID-19 has resulted in school districts around the Twin Cities and throughout the country making adjustments to their pandemic mitigation plans, including some returning to online learning.
A request for comment from the district was not immediately returned.
Vaccine clinics upcoming
The district has announced upcoming vaccination clinics offered by Hennepin County that will take place at Eden Prairie High School.
Clinics are from 4:45 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 19 and Feb. 9. Pre-registration is being requested, and limited walk-ins will be accepted. Register here. For help registering, call 612-348-8900. Help is available in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong.
Pfizer boosters will be available for anyone 5 and older. Pfizer boosters will be available for those 16 and older. Parents or legal guardians must accompany minors.
The vaccine is free, and no insurance is required.
An additional clinic offered by a local physician will be conducted at the Minnetonka Community Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be offered. To reserve a spot, go to this site. Then sign the consent form here.
1,900 test kits distributed
The district announced that it distributed more than 1,900 COVID-19 tests kits to families over winter break. Families could drive in and pick up tests at the Administrative Services Center.
The district’s Jan. 10 Parent Post informed parents that it expects direction soon from the Minnesota Department of Health on “test to stay,” which would allow the district to offer COVID-19 tests to avoid a student quarantine.
City COVID-19 numbers increase
Eden Prairie’s COVID-19 case rate also increased significantly over the two-week period of Dec. 14-27.
The case rate for that period was 84.7 per 10,000 residents, according to the Hennepin County COVID-19 Dashboard. The rate was 61.2 cases per 10,000 residents in the previous two-week period.
Eden Prairie has recorded 9,080 cases and 35 deaths as of Dec. 30 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the county dashboard.
Hennepin County and cities bordering Eden Prairie also experienced significant rate increases over the same period.