October 31, 2020
UMA Community –
Your communication and teamwork shows that staff, students and parents have been brought together to encourage, understand and re-create learning for our school.
On Friday, October 30, 2020, the UMA COVID Response team determined that it is important that UMA move to full distance learning for all of our students for the entire duration of Quarter 2.  Full distance learning will begin on Monday November 9, 2020.
This decision was made based on the multiple data sources that our team has been tracking, a review of our UMA community data and in consultation with the MDE/MDH Regional Support Team.   The published county numbers continue to rise, and the daily COVID data shows that the rising trend is continuing and will continue for a while.
In this decision, the team noted that the data at the school level shows that no staff member or hybrid student has had a positive COVID test.  The decision to move to full distance learning at the quarter break is aligned to support this amount of strength in our community.  I know that there have been a number of UMA households with distance learners that have faced difficult COVID situations.  UMA will continue to be supportive in spirit and resources for all of our households.
The COVID Response Team asked “When can we come back?”  Our team has set a process, similar to the start of the school year, for a safe shift back to the building in the future.
Then, the team asked “What else can we do?’ That is a more uplifting question to answer.
·  Staff have already started outlining the process for safe group interactions – much of which will follow the MSHSL guidelines for athletics and activities.  UMA will sort out the guidelines as they apply to us and set a protocol that will allow us to offer opportunities within the guidelines including safety, education, fun, and collaboration. We have a goal to pilot some of these opportunities as early as December.
·  Driven by the innovation of UMA staff and supported by parents, UMA will continue to work on ways to incorporate safe hands on learning while in a full distance model.  Some examples of this have been individual materials for core classes  (books, math manipulatives, guiding materials) and for electives (art materials, robotics kits, safe chemistry kits).  Please watch for future notifications to pick up materials. Additionally, watch for an opportunity to encourage donations for these ‘kits’ through a GiveMN opportunity in November.
·  Technology equipment for hybrid students moving to distance will be available. 
Data collected from students, staff and households will be used to continue to adjust our learning plan to maximize education while supporting specific needs of the community and individuals.  Resources are available for learning, mental health, socialization, technology, nutrition, and much more.  Contact the main office for any questions at any time.
As a school leader, I am both sad to be without students in the building and glad that we are able to make choices based on safety, health and education.  I am anxious for our staff, students and households as they work through struggles, emergencies, and uncertainty.  I am grateful for the support our parents, board and community give to the school in all areas.  I am confident in the future pathway of the school – it is truly a new frontier.

-Amy Erickson, Executive Director
Family Resources
Free Covid Testing
The Minnesota Department of Health announced that it will open a saliva testing site at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at 175 Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul.  Testing will be available from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.  Appointments can be made through the Vault Health registration site. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains completely free to everyone.

Holiday Assistance
Places of worship, non-profit agencies, food banks and other charities provide a wide variety of assistance.  Some programs require applications and/or have income or residential requirements.  Looking for what is available in your neighborhood is a good place to start.  For a list of agencies offering this sort of help in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka and Dakota counties,  please click here

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;
Heidi Jaeger, Social Worker 612-314-5354
Joclyn Tiedt, Social Worker  612-208-3854 
Anna Walters, School Counselor 612-888-2153
What's Happening in the Classroom
The Climate Changers are UMA’s high school environmental club. The group's mission is to restore and protect the environment by educating, empowering and collaborating within our school and community. This year they are focusing on education and virtual awareness, and learning about relevant topics like environmental justice, climate policy, and making change in our local community.  

Last year, working with Minnesota Youth Climate Strike, students attended several climate strikes with their peers and community, encouraging education and advocacy.  Working to redevelop the school's compost system after our relocation, the Climate Changers assisted UMA staff with a composting grant from Ramsey County, which will help UMA’s ever-expanding zero waste program. 

Despite the pandemic, the club has continued to prioritize community building and work on staff and student outreach. The group meets over Zoom every Tuesday at 4:30 pm, UMA high school students interested in joining should contact Kai Wangen, Savannah Moore or Megan Haas. 

Want to know where the Presidential candidates stand on climate issues?  Check out the club's Instagram account for an informative post.  

UMA Climate Changers
New Bike Lanes
Downtown St. Paul streets have been busy with construction projects this year.  For the next week,10th Street which runs along side the History Theatre entrance is being resurfaced to accommodate a new bike lane. The Capital City Bikeway is a planned network of bicycle facilities throughout downtown Saint Paul. The bikeway network will connect to existing trails and on-street bikeways.  Now students and staff that bike to school will have convenient bicycle access to and through downtown.  

We think Upper Mississippi Academy is pretty special and unique.  If  your  family thinks so too, please let friends and neighbors know about our hands-on, experiential learning.  We still have open seats in all grades and students could begin at the start of quarter 2 on November 9, 2020.  Our website features a virtual tour for those interested in learning more about us.  Families interested in attending should complete an online 2020-2021 application.  

Even better, share this newsletter via your social media using the options below.  
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Upcoming Dates
November 5 - End of Quarter 1
November 6 - Student Release Day - No School
November 9 - Start of Quarter 2
November 16 - Student Release Day - No School
November 19 - Give to the Max Day
November 25-27 - No School-Holiday
Copyright © 2020 Upper Mississippi Academy, All rights reserved.

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19 Exchange Street East
St. Paul, MN  55101

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Upper Mississippi Academy · 19 East Exchange Street · St. Paul, MN 55101 · USA

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