March 21, 2021
Message from Executive Director

Video Message on YouTube

Hello UMA Community - 

It has been a busy couple of weeks and I want to touch on a number of subjects with you today. 

The first is the unrest that we've experienced again in our country this time out of Atlanta with reports and evidence of direct and purposeful harm targeted at the Asian American Community.  From UMA we want our staff, students, households, and community members to know that we are here to create a culture of learning that honors diversity, inclusion and support and that we do not believe in creating a culture of fear regardless of who you are, what you believe, or where you come from.   On our website you will find a notice from The Minnesota Department of Education that has a link to an event that we encourage our community to attend. This event is titled Unheard Stories: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate.  It will take place on Wednesday, March 24th beginning at 5 p.m. Again the information will be on our website and the link will be there for you to access this event.

As we move forward and continue processing what the covid-19 pandemic has brought to us as an education community, we have some updates for you.

The MN Department of Education and MN Department of Health are encouraging all households who have school-age children between the ages of 12 and 25 to seek covid testing for their children once every two weeks.  This is strongly advised regardless of the school that they attend.  Additionally, students participating in regular community events or sports programs are strongly urged to get tested every week.  As we continue to see covid variants spread and some hot spots developing in Minnesota, distancing – along with consistent universal masking – is critical. These variants seem to be better at infecting more people and often are being traced to sports activities. A reminder that covid testing site information is on our UMA website and testing remains free for any Minnesotan.

As we're coming closer to our spring break, which begins on April 5th, we are recommending Covid testing for those households that are planning on a schedule that includes something out of the ordinary - possibly a large gathering, or traveling in state or out of state.  We strongly urge you to seek testing 3-5 days after you complete your activity and that you quarantine for 7 - 10 days.   If this overlaps with the return to school, we recommend your child be a distance learner the week after spring break, which is the first week of quarter four.  This will help to support the health and safety of your household and the entire UMA community.  

On Friday, the UMA Covid-19 team met and discussed the options and possibilities available for moving our hybrid learning model forward from 2 days a week, to 4 days a week. The earliest possible date this would happen would be April 26th.  Given that, we will continue on our two-day-a-week hybrid model through the end of quarter 3, we will take our spring break, and we will begin quarter four in the 2-day hybrid model.  April 12th, when we return from Spring Break,  we will be able to notify you if our staff-to-student ratio and the health of the community  meet the requirements for us to be able to move to a four day a week program for hybrid students beginning April 26th.

Please keep in mind that this is our projection for our earliest available date. It's based on the trends and predictions within Hennepin and Ramsey counties and our location zip code, the date of our spring break and a waiting period of time after that break in the calendar, to be able to move to a less restrictive education model.  The increase in our classroom capacity is supported by the CDC and MN Department of Health social distancing requirement of 3 ft for Middle Schools and High Schools. This alignment between the CDC and Minnesota Middle School and High School social distancing guidance was reinforced by the MN Commissioner of Education on today's Superintendents call at 4:00 pm.

We want to express how much we appreciate all of our staff.  They have done so much work to put together our distance learning program, our hybrid learning program, and they are continuously adjusting curriculum and coursework to meet the needs of the students and the households.  

I also want to alert the households of our Seniors to watch for an email regarding a meeting next week to discuss the planning of our graduation celebration.  As soon as I have a date for that online meeting, I will send out a link to all seniors and their households.

Thank you for being a part of UMA - enjoy the onset of Spring!

Amy Erickson - Executive Director
Intent to Return to UMA 2021-2022
A friendly reminder to families that have not completed the Intent to Return form.   Please take a few minutes to fill out the brief form indicating if your student will return to UMA next school year. An immediate response would be helpful in our planning for next school year.

If there is any doubt on what makes UMA so special, this word bubble was compiled two years ago based on a parent survey of what high school parents liked about our school.  

From MN Department of Education
An event for all Minnesotans will be held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, from 5-6:30 p.m. Unheard Stories: Asian Americans Experiencing Hate, will be a public community event to hear from leaders and community members about what has been occurring in Minnesota and nationwide, hear from victims of hate, and work together with us to take action against violence and hate. Speakers include U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, CAAL Executive & Network Director Bo Thao-Urabe, and others.
What's Happening in the Classroom
You may of heard the term 3D printing lately and wonder what's the big deal.  Similar to a printer laying ink on paper, this technology can lay down multiple layers of a material such as plastic and soon a digital design takes shape from the 3D printing. Advancements in the technology has recently made it possible to build an entire housing community using 3D printing.

To expand our hands-on experiential learning, UMA purchased three new 3D printers for student use in our science and design & engineering classes.  First though students had to assemble the printers directly from the box.  Science teacher Mr. Hefstad has already begun making custom chess pieces for students to use.  There will be many options for students to design and create using this innovative technology at school.
Family Resources

Vaccine Connector
Roll up your sleeves, Minnesota - Vaccine Connector

The Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector is a new tool that helps Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

The Vaccine Connector will:

  • alert you when you are eligible to receive a vaccine;
  • connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment; and
  • notify you if there are vaccine opportunities in your area.

This tool is for all Minnesotans 18 years of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated. Insurance and identification are not needed, and signing up is free.

Sign up at Vaccine Connector. It is easy, safe, and secure.

Families encouraged to get tested every two weeks

Saliva testing

Testing for COVID-19 is an important strategy in slowing the spread of the virus. The state of Minnesota is recommending that schoolchildren and their families get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks as more students return to the classroom.

This recommendation applies to children that leave home for learning, youth sports or extracurricular activities.

The state is offering free saliva testing at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul. Testing is available seven days a week and free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID-19 test, including those who are asymptomatic. 

View testing sites in Ramsey County.

No-cost at-home COVID-19 saliva testing is also available. 

View test at home information.

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Health

If you have a specific need and would like help finding resources please feel free to contact the following staff, we would like to talk with you;

Joclyn Tiedt, Social Worker  612-208-3854 
Elizabeth Sullivan, Social Worker  612-466-0446
Anna Walters, School Counselor  612-888-2153

High School Costa Rica 2022 Trip!

Calling all current 8th-11th grade UMA students! An adventure awaits if you are interested in broadening your horizons and opening your mind even more with an international trip to Costa Rica.  Continue reading for answers to your first questions! 

Where do I go to see all the details of the trip? - You go to and start clicking around!

When is this trip? - This trip will happen around UMA’s Spring Break 2022. 

Who do I contact in order to ask questions and show interest? - Start your conversation with UMA's Spanish teacher Erik Nordwall
by sending an email to
(please indicate the student traveler in your inquiries).

Who can go on this trip? - You must be an enrolled high school student at UMA
(You DO NOT have to be in Spanish class to go on this trip,
nor do you need to know Spanish).

What about COVID-19? - We have had to postpone this trip twice due to COVID-19, however we believe that we will be in a safe place to travel by Spring Break next school year 2021-22 (but we will be recommending that you purchase Explorica’s best insurance plan in order to play it safe). 

If you’d like a visual taste of what this trip is like, please check out this YouTube playlist from our UMA Costa Rica 2018 Trip! 

¡Gracias y pura vida! 

Video highlights of UMA's 2018 Costa Rica Trip
Upcoming Dates
April 5-9 - Spring Break - No School
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