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Another Milestone in the Pandemic

Dear colleagues, Superintendent Joe Gothard

About 10 days ago, I got a call from MDE Commissioner Heather Mueller. The state was starting to get ready for the approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11-year-olds, and they want schools to be a primary distribution point for the shots.

From the beginning of the pandemic, SPPS has closely followed the recommendations from state and federal health agencies and done whatever we can to keep our students and staff as safe as possible. This school year, we were one of the first districts in Minnesota to institute a universal mask policy, as well as a vaccine or testing requirement for all staff and other adults in our buildings. Thank you all for doing your part in this important districtwide effort.

This past summer and fall, we partnered with St Paul-Ramsey County Public Health and Minnesota Community Care to offer vaccine clinics at some of our high schools. We have regularly promoted the importance of getting vaccinated for everyone who is eligible. Later this week, we anticipate that we will finally reach the point that many of us in education have been waiting for: an approved COVID-19 vaccine for our younger students.

Once the vaccine is approved, you’ll get more information that you can share with families about vaccine clinics at our schools and throughout St. Paul. While it would be amazing to have a clinic every day at every elementary school, our local health partners are tasked with serving the entire county and can only be in so many places at once. In addition to our school sites, families will be able to access other community-based clinics or get an appointment through their pediatrician or pharmacy.

This is a turning point in the pandemic, and I ask that all of us help our families access the resources they need to get the shot, which will allow them to better protect themselves and those around them. The latest updates will be posted on our website at Please share this link and look for more information later this week.

In addition, the CDC considers education staff as eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna booster. Anyone who got the Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago is also eligible. You can find more information about boosters on the CDC website.

Thank you for everything you are doing to keep yourselves, your students and our community healthy. We have come a long way since March of 2020, and this is one more huge step toward slowing the spread and getting to the other side of this pandemic.

In partnership,

Joe Gothard, Superintendent