COVID Guidelines 2021-22
February 18, 2022 Update: On February 18, 2022, SPA announced updates to its COVID mitigation policies, including a move to a mask-optional protocol on the Randolph Campus and a more flexible approach to masking on the Goodrich Campus, both beginning on Monday, February 28. See Head of School Bryn Roberts' announcement to the community, below, for more information.
Update from the Head of School: Updated COVID protocols and masking policies
February 18, 2022
To the SPA community,
With Omicron in retreat in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties and case numbers dropping sharply within the SPA community, we are now planning for the next phase of pandemic life at school. This will include a measured withdrawal of some elements of our COVID mitigation protocols, including a move to a mask-optional policy on the Randolph Campus and a more flexible approach to masking on the Goodrich Campus.
These changes reflect the altered reality of the COVID landscape. A range of important indexes suggest that the intensity of the pandemic is declining across the state. In Ramsey County and the surrounding areas, the community infection rates and the positivity rates have declined significantly; here at SPA, our case numbers continue to be low. Since the beginning of February, five students and one faculty member have tested positive for COVID, and this past week we have had no new cases of COVID on either campus. This, combined with the high rates of vaccinations among our students, faculty, and staff and the advice of our Medical Director, Dr. Paul Anderson, informed our decision. Should conditions change, we may be compelled to return to stricter mitigation measures which may include a return to full-time masking.
Many at SPA will welcome more flexible guidance on masks. Anyone who feels more comfortable continuing to mask will be supported in that choice, and all students and adults are encouraged to bring masks with them to school. As a community, I am confident that we will respect each other’s choices and refrain from making assumptions or comments about an individual’s choice to mask or not.
Following is an overview of the changes that we will implement in the coming days and weeks.
On the Randolph Campus, we will move to a mask-optional protocol for students, staff, and visitors beginning on Monday, February 28. The mask-optional policy will apply to classrooms, common areas, the Dining Hall, athletic and extracurricular activities, and after-hour events for both students and adults. Please note that we may continue to require masks for some upcoming large-group gatherings and events, such as the Middle School social (February 25), the Upper School winter dance (February 26) and the Middle School musical (March 4-6). The Principals will provide the details on masking choices for these events.
Additional refinements to our mitigation strategies on the Randolph Campus will be in place on Tuesday, February 22 following the Presidents’ Day weekend, as noted below.
- We will remove most of the plexiglass from the Dining Hall. We will maintain a section of seating in the Dining Hall with plexiglass for those who feel more comfortable with that layer of protection.
- We will return to a mask-optional policy for athletes during Middle and Upper School athletic practices. Masks will also be optional for spectators at basketball games in the gym and hockey games in the arena.
- Parent Association events, College Counseling events, Coffee Chats, and other parent events both during the school day and in the evening may return to in-person and may include food and drink.
On the Goodrich Campus, we will return to the more flexible masking protocols that were in place during the fall. Beginning on Monday, February 28, students will have the option of removing their masks while outdoors, and will be encouraged to take mask breaks during the day. Teachers may choose to remove their masks at various times during instruction to support learning or interpersonal interactions with their students.
Our decision to continue classroom masking on the Goodrich Campus reflects the vaccination rate in the Lower School, which is lower than on the Randolph Campus. We will monitor community health on the Goodrich Campus in the coming weeks and will make adjustments to masking policies as conditions warrant.
Additional refinements to our mitigation strategies on the Goodrich Campus will be in place on Tuesday, February 22 following the Presidents’ Day weekend, as noted below.
- Singing will resume in music classes, specialist classes, and homerooms.
- Parent Association events, Coffee Chats, and other parent events both during the school day and in the evening may return to in-person and may include food and drink.
As we prepare for these transitions, thank you for your support, your resilience, and your commitment to working together as a community. Please reach out to your division Principal, Assistant Head of School Dr. Jill Romans, or me with questions.
Bryn S. Roberts
Head of School
The COVID-19 Planning and Response Team is made up of academic and administrative leaders from across the school's divisions and units. The team is advised by Dr. Paul Anderson, who serves as the school's Medical Director.
- Bryn S. Roberts, Head of School
- Dr. Jill Romans, Assistant Head of School for Student Development and Community Engagement
- Dr. Cindy Richter, Assistant Head of School for Academic Programs
- Theresa Collins, Upper School Principal
- Virginia Andres, Middle School Principal
- Beth Nelson, Lower School Principal
- Mark Dickinson, Director of Operations and Security
- Chelsea Kimpton, Director of Finance
- Courtney Barker, Director of Human Resources
- Garry Clum, Director of Technology
- Ami Berger, Director of Communications
- Mary Hill, Director of College Counseling and Academic Planning
- Dawn Wickstrum, Director of Athletics
- Monica Garrido Mejia, Lead Health Assistant