St. Louis Park Public Schools staff receive vaccinations

First dose offered March 26


Molly Schochet

St. Louis Park Public Schools staff members had the option to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine March 5. Staff members had to sign up ahead of time for a slot.

After receiving an email from the president of the Park Association of Teachers regarding a link with information for the vaccine, superintendent Astein Osei said he reached out to a contact at the county to see if he could help staff with the vaccination process.

“She sent me back some stock response, so I was like, ‘Oh, that’s too bad.’ I was expecting her to give me more details. But literally, a couple hours after that, we got access to the link … then later that night, she emails me and says, ‘Hey, give me a call.’ So I caught her at like eight o’clock and she said, ‘Hey, I want to know if you’re interested. We got this opportunity to do a vaccination pod with a Hennepin County School District, would you want to do it.’” 

St. Louis Park is the first school district in Hennepin County to be given the opportunity to vaccinate all staff. Staff who participated received the Moderna vaccine March 5 at Park. Osei said they were planning for 400-450 staff members as many had already received the vaccine. 

Although she is not attending in-person learning, sophomore Amira Abdirahman said she believes the vaccine is a good precaution for staff. 

“I think that it’s good for them. They’re in a position where they have to be around hundreds of students a day,” Abdirahman said. 

World history teacher Debra Skadden said she received her first dose of the vaccine late February and is awaiting her second dose. Skadden said she was thrilled to hear all staff would have the option to get the vaccination as it would offer relief for many.

“I’m very pleased about it,” Skadden said. “It’s the biggest worry of teachers coming back to school in COVID(-19), the possibility of getting really sick or being in the hospital or dying.” 

As more people get vaccinated, junior Kimberly Parkinson said it makes her feel safer while attending school and other activities. 

 “It does make me (feel) safer. It gives me hope that COVID(-19) will end soon, and we can go back to semi-normal,” Parkinson said.  

Before the vaccinations, Skadden was skeptical about being in school during COVID-19, but now that teachers are getting vaccinated, she said she is more optimistic about teaching in-person during the pandemic.  

“I’m not sure about the students, they’re not going to be vaccinated, but it calms my fears for sure,” Skadden said. “I have a whole different outlook now on school starting back up.”