Return to Headlines

Have a Wonderful Winter Break

Dear colleagues,Joe Gothard headshot

With winter break starting next week, I want to thank you for all you have done to support your students’ learning and each other during what has been another challenging year. I hope that you are able to spend some time with family and friends and enjoy this two-week break.

As a reminder, winter break for school staff will be December 20-31. Administrative staff will have paid holidays on December 24 and 31.

I would also like to encourage you to take precautions when gathering with loved ones as COVID-19 case rates remain high across Minnesota and in SPPS. You can protect yourself and the health of others around you by following these guidelines:

  • Get vaccinated: We are urging everyone to get vaccinated, including boosters for staff who are eligible. Visit, or for information about vaccines and boosters.
  • Wear a mask in crowded settings and socially distance where possible, especially when getting together with people from multiple households.
  • Travel with caution: Review the CDC’s tips for safer travel if you are considering traveling and avoid crowded settings before gathering with people from other households.
  • Get tested before gatherings. Free tests are available at Minnesota community testing sites and through the state’s at-home testing program
    • Staff members who are not fully vaccinated are required to continue weekly COVID-19 testing and report their test results during winter break. Staff testing will be available at 360 Colborne Street, 1930 Como Avenue, Horace Mann School and the Rondo Complex on December 21 and 28 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Stay home if you have symptoms or test positive. Please review this updated illness guidance for what to do if you get sick or test positive for COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Team continues to provide information to students and staff who report positive cases to the SPPS COVID-19 Reporting System. As an employee of SPPS, it is your responsibility to notify your supervisor of any absences and return dates.

Due to limited staffing during winter break, contact tracing will not be done for positive cases reported from noon on December 17-January 2, except for cases involving Discovery Club programming. This means close contacts of positive cases will not be notified over winter break. Positive reports will continue to be monitored during this time, and students and staff with positive COVID-19 cases will be contacted with next steps.

I hope you have a wonderful winter break, even if you are working for some of it like I am. Thank you for everything you do; I appreciate you.

In partnership,

Joe Gothard signature

Joe Gothard, Superintendent