May 19, 2021 | Volume 1 • Issue 33
A Message from Superintendent Osei
This past weekend, the CDC released guidance for schools following last week's announcement that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks. The CDC, MDE and MDH continue to recommend that school staff and students wear masks in school buildings and on school buses for the remainder of the school year.  

We have received some questions from stakeholders regarding mask requirements in the wake of the newly released CDC guidance. There are a number of reasons why it is important that we continue to implement this mitigation strategy in school buildings and on buses.  In addition to it being an expectation of the MDE Safe Learning Plan, there are some staff and a large majority of our students who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

As you may be aware, students under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. Students ages 12-15 recently became eligible for vaccination on May 12, 2021. St. Louis Park Public Schools has requested to be a point of distribution for vaccines for students ages 12 and up.

According to a recent communication from the Minnesota Department of Education, at this time there are a number of ways that parents/guardians can get their child vaccinated. Some locations require appointments, but many places are now accepting walk-ins.  

To find a vaccine: 
  • Walk-in or schedule an appointment through the State’s Community Vaccination Programs at the Mall of America, Roy Wilkins, Lino Lakes or Oakdale. You can also get connected to a vaccine through Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector
  • Students ages 12-15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  
  • Information about appointments will arrive via text or email from the state’s vaccination partners running those sites: Vault Health, Primary Bio or SpeciaLysts (Solv).  
  • Use the Vaccine Locator Map to find vaccine locations near you.  
  • Use to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you. Under vaccine make sure to check the box for Pfizer. 

If you need language assistance, have questions or need to find an appointment, you can call the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline at 1-833-431-2053.  There is no cost for the vaccine. Students do not need to provide a government-issued ID or medical insurance to be vaccinated, and no question on immigration status is ever asked.

Thank you for your continued compliance and support of our masking requirements.  Your continued commitment and support of St. Louis Park Public Schools is much appreciated. 

In community,

District Announces Finalists for Aquila Principal Position
St. Louis Park Public Schools is pleased to announce two finalists for the position of Aquila Elementary School Principal. María Graver and Dr. Margaret J. Vecchio-Smith advanced to the final round of the interview process.

"Both candidates are well-qualified and prepared to lead for racial equity transformation in St. Louis Park Public Schools,” said Superintendent Astein Osei. “The finalists have shown that they care deeply about students, families, and staff, and that their skill sets align with the challenges facing our organization.”

The final round of the process will involve an interview with Superintendent Osei. The Superintendent will select one of the two candidates for the position and share his recommendation at the June 14 School Board meeting. The new principal will begin their duties on July 1, 2021.

About the finalists...

María Graver is currently the Assistant Principal at Richfield High School. She also works as an Educational Equity Coordinator for Minneapolis Public Schools and is a consultant for the Hackman Consulting Group where she develops and delivers curriculum promoting racial equity and social justice for educational and corporate entities. Graver holds an Educational Specialist degree from Concordia University - St. Paul, MN; a Certificate of Critical Literacy from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; a Master’s Degree in Instruction from Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL; and a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Carleton College - Northfield, MN.

Dr. Margaret J. Vecchio-Smith is currently the Interim Principal for Adams Elementary School in Anoka-Hennepin Schools and also served as the school’s Assistant Principal. Vecchio-Smith served as the Assistant Principal for Earle Brown Elementary School in Brooklyn Center Community Schools. Vecchio-Smith earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration, Certificate in Professional Development, K-12 Administrative License, and Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Education & Child Studies from Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Shelley Nielsen currently serves as Aquila Elementary School Principal. She announced this Spring that she would be retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
VIDEO: Celebrating the Class of 2021
The District premiered a video tonight on YouTube celebrating the Class of 2021. This virtual event, formerly Awards & Scholarship Night, includes speakers, photos, future plans, favorite high school memories, as well as awards and scholarships that students have earned this year. Click here to watch the video. Click here to download the program from the event.
K-5 Summer Learning Academy and Summer Learning & Play Programs Available to All Families
Registration is now available for the St. Louis Park Public Schools K-5 Summer Learning Academy. This year's Summer Learning Academy will run from June 28 through August 12, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Parents and guardians can also pair the Summer Learning Academy with an afternoon Summer Learning & Play offering for a full day of learning and fun! 

More information about the Summer Learning Academy as well as afternoon Summer Learning & Play programs can be found by downloading the following flyers: English | Spanish | Somali

If you would like to register your child for the Summer Learning Academy, please contact your child's teacher. If you have general questions about the Summer Learning Academy, please contact Academy Principal Jennifer Zipf at 952-928-6090 or

Questions about Summer Learning & Play programs can be directed to Kelleen O'Brion at 952-928-6399 or
Updated COVID-19 Dashboard
The dashboard will be updated every Wednesday and can be found on the District's COVID-19 News & Updates page at
Masks Still REQUIRED in Schools and on Buses
for Students and Staff
The Safe Learning Plan - including Executive Orders 20-19, 20-82, 20-94 and 20-95 - will be in full effect through the end of the 2020-21 school year. This means schools will continue following the Safe Learning Plan until whenever the last teacher contact day is for each individual school district or charter school. This means that face masks are still required to be worn on the bus and inside school buildings by both students and staff.
Distance Learning Option for High School Seniors
Seniors at St. Louis Park High School who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to move to distance learning for the last two weeks of school. Any student having to quarantine is not an ideal situation, but it would be especially unfortunate for a senior to miss their graduation ceremony due to quarantine requirements. If your family makes the decision to do this, please call Kiki Christensen at 952-928-6102.
Secondary Student Quarantine Clarification & Information
Last week Governor Walz announced his plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions across the state by July 1st . Although some restrictions have been lifted related to social distancing and group size, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Safe Learning Plan—including Executive Orders 20-19, 20-82, 20-94 and 20-95—will be in full effect through the end of the 2020-21 school year. This means schools will continue following the Safe Learning Plan until the last teacher contact day is for each individual school district or charter school (for St. Louis Park Public Schools Students in Grades K-11 this is June 10). All end-of-year special events, prom and graduation will follow the Stay Safe - Entertainment Venue Guidance.

As we approach these events, it is imperative that we continue to come together as a community to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) continue to recommend…wash your hands, wear your masks, continue social distancing, and get vaccinated. 

In case your student does need to quarantine, here is what you can expect from St. Louis Middle School and High School once the school receives notification of a positive COVID-19 case:
  • Contact tracing will take place. This includes looking at classroom and lunchroom seating charts, bus information, and participation in sports and/or other activities. 
  • A school nurse or district or school administrator will call the parents/guardians/families of the students that were in close contact. 
  • If students that came in close contact are in class, staff will take them to the health office (or other designated area where they will not come in contact with other students) until they can be safely picked up or transported home. 
  • An email with further information and next steps about the quarantine will be sent to parents/guardians. Please be sure to check your email. 

PLEASE NOTE: St. Louis Park Public Schools will continue to follow a 14-day quarantine period. Per the CDC and MDH, a 14-day quarantine continues to be the safest option. 

There are options to reduce the quarantine period in certain situations, however, those that follow the shortened quarantine (7 or 10 days) need to stay 6 feet away from others and monitor their symptoms through day 14. With no social distancing in the elementary schools and 3 feet (when possible) in the secondary schools, this IS NOT A VIABLE OPTION IN SLP and we will continue following the 14-day quarantine protocol. 

Following CDC and MDH guidance and working together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 so that all students can participate in end-of-year events and keep our community healthy and safe.
School-Issued Device Collection
Instructional planning for the 2021-2022 school year is underway. The collection of school-issued Chromebooks, iPads, mobile hotspots and associated chargers prior to the last day of school is essential to ensure digital tools are available for learning at the start of next school year. 

Please refer to the following one-page flyers for complete information: English | Spanish | Somali
REMINDER: Elementary School Playgrounds for Student Use Only During School Hours
Students and families are reminded that elementary school playgrounds are dedicated to student use from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school days. The playgrounds are used for instruction during the school day and for Kids Place childcare before and after school from September-June and throughout the day during school year breaks, holidays and in the Summer.