The Potluck

St. Paul to require staffers, vendors to get vaccinated or get tested weekly

By: - September 3, 2021 1:49 pm

Syringes are prepped with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before being administered at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va., Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce/Virginia Mercury.

The St. Paul Board of Education passed a resolution Friday requiring all staff members, contractors, vendors and visitors to be fully vaccinated or receive weekly COVID-19 testing, beginning Oct. 15. 

Staffers and others will have to provide “acknowledgement” of vaccination, rather than proof, under the resolution. Employees’ vaccination status will be kept confidential and only shared with the human resources department, according to a press release.

“The challenges are real, everyone, and I think we knew that coming in,” Superintendent Joe Gothard told the school board during a special meeting. “I think we have to be both realistic in our approach and open and transparent and communicate, but we also have an obligation to do everything that we can to make sure that we are protecting our staff, students and community in opening our doors.” 

Gothard said vaccination is the most effective strategy to help schools resume full operations, citing the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gothard said the district is still working on defining “visitors” to schools — saying they won’t be able to regulate everyone who comes to pick up students. All visitors must wear face masks in district buildings.

In order to use economic stimulus dollars under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the district has to have to have students in school and educate them effectively, Gothard said. “So this is a priority.” 

Minneapolis requires all students, staff, bus riders and visitors to wear masks, and most Minnesota colleges are requiring students to get vaccinated or wear masks, but most school districts have not mandated vaccinations. 


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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.