by Rich Larson
As the school year approaches, the Superintendent of Northfield Public Schools, Dr. Matt Hillmann, sent a letter to all families in the district. Friday which set out the Covid-19 safety protocols that the district plans to apply at the start of the year.
While it was hoped that by the start of the upcoming school year, we would be out of the way of the global pandemic, a recent increase in cases in the state of Minnesota and Rice County caused through the delta variant of the virus, has urged the district to reinstate certain virus mitigation protocols and practices to ensure the health and safety of staff, faculty and students.
Hillmann said the key components the district will need are masks for everyone and quarantine for those who test positive for Covid-19.
Starting Wednesday, the district will require masks to be worn by all people two years and older who enter a school building or school bus, regardless of that person’s immunization status.
If a student, faculty member, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19, they will need to stay home until they feel better, their symptoms subside, and they are at least ten days before taking the test which shows a positive result.
Hillmann said the district is still awaiting advice regarding the use of masks for those participating in athletics.
He again stressed that the best tool we have as a community against Covid-19 is vaccination. The district estimates that about 50% of students aged 16 and 17 and about 40% of students aged 12 to 14 have been vaccinated. His letter included links to information about vaccines and where people can be vaccinated.
The Northfield School Board will meet this evening and vote on the authorization of the proposed protocols.
The full text of Dr Hillmann’s letter to the district can be read here.
Dunn provides update on new prison project
Plans are now underway for the construction of the new Rice County Jail.
Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said the advisory committee meets every two weeks with the architect of Klein McCarthy Architects’ new facility in St. Louis Park. He also said that due to the importance of the project, the Council of Commissioners has decided to hire a construction project manager once things are ready to go.
“The County Board of Directors chose to bring in a construction consultant once we got started, so we didn’t have to bring in a commissioner from the Sheriff’s Office or Parks & Maintenance. It’s a huge project. It is one of the biggest projects Rice County has ever done.
Sheriff Dunn said the county is considering three separate sites to build on and negotiations are underway with the owners of all three sites. The design itself will require approximately 14 acres of space, so the optimal site would be 20 acres to allow for parking, training, and future expansion. He said the county is also discussing the possibilities with the town of Faribault.
The new facility will house both the new prison and an expanded new law enforcement center. Dunn said conversations with the architects center around the flow of the building, the best use of space and where those areas of expansion could come into play. Sheriff Dunn said there was always the possibility of the office distribution either one day transferred to the building or that a new courthouse could possibly be built there. During the debate over how best to address the inadequacy of the current prison, Sherriff has spoken repeatedly about the lack of versatility and adaptability in the current space and how problematic that makes things. He said it is very important that the design of the new facility can easily meet the needs of the future.
Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn can be heard here
Summer ends on a high at the Northfield Public Library
Things have been busy this summer at the Northfield Public Library, and Director of Library Services Natalie Draper said with
there is only about a month left, there is still a lot going on.
On Saturday, the library will be a distribution site for Comic Day, and residents of the Northfield area are invited to the library to receive a free comic. The annual comic book celebration usually takes place in May, but has been rescheduled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A week from tonight August 16e, at 7 p.m., Emilio and Dante DeGrazia will present their musical and poetic collaboration entitled What trees know. The DeGrazia are a father / son duo from Winona who have received accolades for their work both together and apart.
The final installation of the Library’s Books & Stars summer concert series will take place on August 25e in Central Park, with the a cappella group, The Fairlanes. The music will start at 6 p.m. There will be a story hour before the concert at 5:30 p.m., and the bookmobile will be there too.
Draper said something else to look forward to later this year is a project she and other library staff have been working on with the college’s Summer Blast program, creating stop-motion Lego movies. Draper said the competition among the students to make great cinema has been quite intense.
“I have no idea what the 6e the graders are working on it, because they won’t tell me. It’s top secret, because they’re all here to earn it. There is a price. We are going to have an awards ceremony at the end. The 5e the evaluators are the Academy, so they vote for who wins which of the ten awards. We’ll be showing all of their movies on NPB, as well as the recording of the first event.
The date for the film festival and awards ceremony to air on Northfield Public Broadcasting has not yet been announced.
Finally, Draper reminded the community that the library has contracted with a new online digital service called Hoopla Digital which offers over a million eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies and shows. of TV. Northfield Library Card holders are permitted to borrow three items per month. The Hoopla digital app can be found in the App Store for download to your digital device or Smart TV.
Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Library Services Director Natalie Draper can be heard here
Rich Larson is the director of KYMN News. He can be reached at [email protected]