An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Return to School 2021-22

From the Head of School: COVID Protocols for Fall 2021 (August 11, 2021)


To the SPA community,

We are delighted to welcome our students in all three divisions back to full-time, in-person classes five days per week when school begins in just a few weeks. This return to the predictable rhythms of life at SPA will be a celebratory moment for all of us.

COVID, however, is still with us, and our policies reflect our commitment to making  our campus safe for our students and adults. The issue of masking is foremost on all our minds, and we will begin the school year with masks required for all students and adults on both campuses regardless of vaccination status. This decision was made after a careful analysis of the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and our ongoing consultation with Dr. Paul Anderson, SPA’s Medical Director. Our choice for the start of school reflects the rising case counts in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, the challenges of the highly-contagious Delta variant, and the presence on both campuses of children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Our goal this year is to give our students the best possible version of full-time, in-person schooling while maintaining a low-risk environment on both our campuses. Masking for all will be an important tool in accomplishing that goal. However, we are prepared to adapt to changing conditions, both inside school and in the larger community. Our masking policies will almost certainly evolve in the coming weeks and months, especially on the Randolph Campus where the vast majority of our students have already taken advantage of their vaccine eligibility.

We will take the same flexible approach to all of our COVID protocols for the fall, which are outlined below. In creating these guidelines, we have drawn on our many months of experience over the past two years and the success of our layered mitigation strategies that served us so well in 2020-21when we had one possible case of on-campus transmission.  SPA’s impressively high rates of vaccination will be an asset in our quest to sustain a low-risk environment on our campuses.  Approximately 90% of eligible SPA students in Grades 7-12 are fully vaccinated against COVID, as are 96% of faculty and staff.  Vaccination is the most effective tool we have in eliminating the risk of transmission, and we strongly encourage all members of the community to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. 

These high vaccination rates and our mitigation strategies reflect our community’s commitment to combating the transmission of COVID. Our shared sense of responsibility to each other, and our understanding of how our individual choices impact the entire community, continue to be our guiding principles. We are grateful to you for honoring those principles, and we are counting on you and your family to embrace this message of shared accountability and responsibility as we embark on the new school year. 

Best wishes,
Bryn S. Roberts
Head of School

 

Fall 2021 Protocols

As we come together as a community this fall, we will rely on our values of respect and inclusivity to guide us in our interactions and community choices. We know that the SPA community is taking steps both individually and collectively to support the health of our community. Throughout the year, we will encourage, model, and practice compassion, care, and respect for ourselves and others. This includes respecting individual needs and the confidentiality of personal medical information. 

We know that a layered approach to mitigation is important and that no single strategy is the solution to community health. We are grateful for the multiple layers we have in place on both campuses as we navigate the evolving conditions of the pandemic. We will remain flexible and responsive in our approach this school year, adding and subtracting layers as necessary, and we will uphold our community values as we move through those changes together.  

The protocols listed below are current as of August 11, 2021, and took effect on Monday, August 23, 2021. This site will be updated as our protocols evolve over the course of the school year.

covid-19 planning and response team, 2021-22

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 Johnson, 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