2022-01-21 Noticias de ISLA y ISLA PTO

January 21, 2022

Emily Smith

Administrative Assistant

Letter from the Director

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Queridas Familias:

 I hope this message finds you all doing well and staying warm in spite of these frigid temps.  We had another indoor recess today (third one this week) because of the windchill numbers, so we are definitely hoping for a warming trend soon. 

  • Covid news and planning:  Current Safe Learning Plan Update.
  • We have now had 94 total positive cases of Covid 19 from our student body, and have quarantined 228 students so far this year. We have had 15 staff members who have tested positive this school year.
  • As a point of reference, we currently have 0 positive cases on our staff, 12 students positive, and 0 students in quarantine.
  • We have been given approval for 30 days of online instruction. We anticipate using these days for individual classroom distance learning only if necessary.  Full online instruction for the entire school would only be necessary if we were seeing excessive spread in the school (which we are not), and if we had a massive substitute teaching crisis (while it has been challenging, we are not there yet. Several of the absences that we are seeing were planned or not Covid related.
  • We will be adopting the revised CDC isolation/quarantine guidelines for staff and students. Effective immediately, we will require only a 5 day isolation for positive cases (Day zero is the first day you have symptoms) and a 5 day quarantine for unvaccinated household contacts.  
  • This week at the board meeting, we discussed our difficulties with contact tracing, and the fact that most other districts and schools do not contact trace to the extent that ISLA does. We are so fortunate to have our Covid 19 Coordinator, Tanya Nelson, who has been doing an amazing job juggling all of this, but it has been quite an effort for her. At the meeting, Nurse Tanya weighed in on the possibility of discontinuing these protocols as we now practice them. However, after much discussion over the past few days, we have decided to hold off changing our close contact procedures until after this wave.  We have revised our internal procedures again and have identified a few things  which might make the tracing more efficient for our health office, as well as a few other areas of support for our Covid 19 coordinator.  We are hopeful when we look at the trends, and can see that this next week could very well be the peak of this Omicron wave; we also see signals of hope that this variant is less severe, and this disease might very well become endemic.
  • Testing:  We anticipate the arrival of more tests for distribution. Shipment has been delayed due to production issues. Potential arrival should be sometime in February. This will be our third delivery this year.  
  • Travel: Families will continue to be encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines in regards to safe travel, recommendations for testing before/after and any quarantine recommendations.

  • Bus Invoices/Financing: 

    Next week, we will be sending out invoices for our transportation service.  I wanted to take this opportunity to explain a bit more about the financing of transportation for charter schools, and why we have to pay for busing now.  Charter schools are entitled to request for bus service free of charge from their resident district, which we always did in the past, as this service covered ridership for a good portion of our students.  However, as we have now moved out of the Hopkins school district into the Edina school district, we now have to foot the bill, because if we requested this service from Edina, we would not be able to provide transportation for many students who live outside of the Edina district.  The ISLA school board also wanted all existing bus riders at the time of our move (legacy riders) to continue to have free bus service, and we wanted to expand our bus service to offer the service to many more new families.  While we do get some funding from the state, it only covers about a third of the total cost.  The transportation committee has committed to pro-rating the fees for all students until November, when we added the 8th bus and the service level improved dramatically. Here is the breakdown of expenses:
  • Legacy riders, Free and Reduced, and Edina residents (per statute): Always free.
  • Scholarships are available. 
  • Original bus fee quoted to all families:  338 per rider, 676 max per family
  • Prorated bus fee:  $ 262.89 per rider, $ 525.78 max per family
  • Actual cost per rider after state subsidy:  $ 869
  • ISLA deficit per rider after state subsidy and bus fee: $ 606
  • While the ISLA board was fully cognizant of the implications of this deficit, and we budgeted accordingly, we will still be offering the opportunity for everyone to contribute to the transportation fund at the time of billing. 

  • Building update/Dropoff/Pickup: 


  • The gym is slated to be finished by the first week of February. We are almost at the stage where we can change our pickup and dropoff procedures to fully utilize the back part of our campus. We have been working hard to get this done, but as the construction company has not finished the gym yet, we have had some delays for this implementation, as there were still some safety and logistical issues to be resolved. We anticipate making this change during the first week of February, and we will be sending families detailed instructions in advance. 




Late Start

Thursday, January 27th is ISLA's next early release day. School dismissal is at 1:15 pm and buses will depart at 1:20 pm. This is also the last session of the early release Young Rembrandts drawing class. Information regarding sign-up for future early release classes will come out next week.

Skate Your Heart Out!

Join the PTO for a community skate event at the ROC at the St Louis Park Rec Center on February 13, 2022 from 3:15-5:15pm.

We are asking families to sign up for an hour time slot to allow for more families to be able to participate. Skates are available to rent but if you have your own skates, please bring them.


Additionally, families are asked to make Valentine's at home and bring to the event. The PTO will deliver them to Children's Hospitals and others that are in need of some love on behalf of the ISLA community. We will also have the option to participate in the assembly of kits to support the homeless at the event.   Hope to see you there!

What is Fiesta de la Primavera?! You’ve been hearing more about it, but maybe you don’t know what it is? Fiesta de la Primavera is ISLA PTO’s BIGGEST fundraiser and gathering each Spring! This year’s event is being held Saturday March 19th at La Doña Cervecería!

What should you expect?

  • Adult only event - Book your babysitter!
  • Open to staff, LAs, parents/caregivers AND your friends, family & neighbors!!
  • A FUN night out!!
  • Support for the LA program
  • Mingle with the ISLA community
  • Enjoy delicious food, drinks & music

What are we raising funds for? Each year, ISLA welcomes Language Ambassadors (LAs) to our school- 100% of the funds raised at Fiesta de la Primavera support this program! These LAs are from various Spanish-speaking countries and are our school’s teacher assistants. They have many responsibilities throughout our school, such as:

  • Working alongside our teachers in day-to-day tasks and interacting with students
  • Sharing their native culture with ISLA students while offering a more diverse cultural experience
  • Aiding in classroom projects & activities
  • Providing support for lunch and recess times
  • Teaching extra-curricular classes to the kids in Spanish!!

The LAs are an invaluable part of our school, and Fiesta de la Primavera is the time that we are really able to support this amazing program.  

Want to help?! There are so many opportunities to get involved with tasks of all sizes! We have roles big & small!! Volunteer Opportunities - Click here

Great Gatherings! Fiesta de la Primavera has an auction that will include your amazing ideas for “Great Gatherings” and a range of fun items! The deadline for submissions is February 4th, however, events can be planned through Fall 2022.

These events are one of the most popular auction items because our ISLA community always comes up with such fun and creative ideas. Hosting a Great Gathering is a wonderful way to get to know other families in the community. It can be open to all grade levels or only specific grades. It could include kids only, families or adults only. You could even host a joint event with another family or families!

Have a business of your own? Consider a donation to help support Fiesta while getting your business name out there (ex: Facial, massage, chiropractic adjustment, baked goods & so much more)

Donation Forms

Questions? Have an idea, but need some help working out the details before you commit? Please feel free to contact us at fiesta@isla.school

We greatly appreciate your support in helping make this year’s Fiesta de la Primavera a great event!!

Lunch Ordering Window Open!

The lunch ordering window for February is open until 9 am on January 26th. Please log in to Boonli and order your child's lunch before the deadline we are unable to process late orders. Fifth and Sixth grade students that are going to Wolf Ridge February 16-18 should not order lunches for those days.

Help Improve the Lives of ISLA Faculty and Staff!

The ISLA Human Resource Committee is currently recruiting members, and we'd love to have you join us! The H.R. Committee is an advisory committee to the ISLA Board of Directors, made up of parents, community volunteers, ISLA faculty, and staff members.  We provide recommendations, guidance, assistance, and support to the Board and the ISLA administration with respect to a variety of human resources matters. As a part of this Committee, you have the opportunity to make a significant impact in the lives of the amazing faculty and staff of ISLA.  We regularly solicit employee feedback and recommend actions to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, including in the areas of employee benefits and compensation.

Come join our team!  No experience is necessary, but human resource or employment law experience would be particularly appreciated. If you are interested, please contact Dana Provus, the current H.R. Committee Chair, at dprovus@isla.school.

Join the ISLA Board of Directors!

Looking for a way to support the mission and shape the future of ISLA? Join the ISLA Board of Directors!  The ISLA Election and Nominating Committee is seeking interested community members, teachers, parents, grandparents, and guardians to fill several upcoming vacancies on the ISLA Board beginning June 30, 2022.  No previous experience is required, but we do have a specific need for individuals with expertise in marketing and communications, fundraising, or finance.

The ISLA Board is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the school, implementing policies and procedures, and long-term strategic and financial planning.  In addition, there are a number of different committees on which Board members serve. Click here for descriptions of the various committees. The Board meets in the evening on the third Tuesday of each month.

If you are interested in seeking a Board seat, please submit a Statement of Interest (available here) to the Election and Nominating Committee by February 4.  Questions about Board service and the election process can be directed to Liz Crouse, Chair of the Election and Nominating Committee, at lcrouse@isla.school. The election of Board Directors will occur in connection with ISLA’s annual meeting on May 17, 2022.

Nurse's Corner


We were able to place another order for the rapid at-home BD Veritor test kits. They are behind in production by at least 2 weeks, so that shipment should hopefully arrive sometime in February. Once the test kits arrive we will determine the best way to utilize them.

Please remember when you are doing at-home testing; if the test kit contains 2 individual tests (like the BinaxNOW or BD Veritor), you must administer both tests if the first one comes back negative. The 2nd test should be administered  24 hours after the 1st test. This is how the manufacturer intended for them to be used in order to get the most accurate results.

You can also order free at-home COVID tests from the Department of Health & Human Services. Each household can receive 4 free test kits. Link for ordering: https://www.covidtests.gov/

You can still order the Vault at-home test kits as well. Link for ordering: https://learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota/

Latest information regarding community COVID testing availability can be found here: https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/community-testing.jsp. Or at the testing locator website: https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/index.jsp


Vaccines are the strongest tool we have to prevent serious disease and death from COVID-19. Vaccines are now available for Minnesotans ages 5 and older at no cost. On January 11, Governor Tim Walz announced the launch of the next phase of the 'Kids Deserve a Shot' incentive program to encourage Minnesota families to get their kids 5- to 11-years-old fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Through the program, families may be eligible for a $200 Visa gift card and the opportunity to win a $100,000 college scholarship.

Vaccine Locator website: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/vaxforkids/index.jsp

Boosters Recommended for People Aged 12 and Older

As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they now recommend booster shots for those aged 12 and older five months after the completion of the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, for some immunocompromised children aged 5-11 years old, CDC also recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses.


Effective immediately, ISLA will be updating our isolation and quarantine periods to 5 full days. These shortened isolation and quarantine guidelines do require individuals to fit into the criteria stated below, so please familiarize yourself with these new recommendations.

ISOLATION: For individuals who receive positive COVID test results, regardless of vaccination status, you will need to stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. Wear a well-fitting mask if you must be around others in your home.

Ending isolation if you had symptoms: you may end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improved. Day zero is the symptom start date, count 5 full days, and you can return to school on day 6.

Ending isolation if you had NO symptoms: you may end isolation after 5 full days after your positive test. Again, day zero is the date of your positive test, count 5 full days, and return to school on day 6.

If you were severely ill with COVID, you should isolate for at least 10 days and consult your doctor before ending isolation. \Regardless of whether or not you had symptoms, you should

Regardless of whether or not you had symptoms, you should take precautions until day 10. These precautions include wearing a well-fitting face mask (KN95 or equivalent is recommended) anytime you are around others or out in public, avoiding travel and avoiding contact with those who may be at high risk.\


If you are Fully Vaccinated and identified as a close contact: You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms. Even if you don't develop symptoms, get tested 5 days after your last contact with the positive person. Watch for symptoms until 10 days after the last day of contact. If you develop any symptoms during this time, isolate immediately and get tested. Continue to stay at home until you know the test results. Take precautions until day 10 following the exposure, including wearing a well-fitting face mask anytime you are around others, avoiding travel and avoiding contact with those who may be at high risk.

If you are Not Fully Vaccinated or Unvaccinated and identified as a close contact: You will need to stay at home and quarantine for a full 5 days. Wear a well-fitting mask around others in your home. Even without symptoms, get tested 5 days after last contact with the positive person. After the 5 day quarantine, continue to watch for symptoms until 10 days after the last contact. If you develop symptoms during this time, isolate immediately and get tested. You should stay home until the test results are known. Take precautions until day 10 following the exposure, including wearing a well-fitting face mask anytime you are around others, avoiding travel and avoiding contact with those who may be at high risk.


For the immediate future, we will continue to identify individuals who are close contacts to a positive person in the classroom and lunchroom. We are streamlining the process of contact tracing in an effort to make it more efficient. Families will receive an email notifying them that their student was a close contact. Please read that email for detailed instructions on quarantine procedures, testing recommendations and precautionary measures to take. Families may receive a phone call if the School Nurse needs to clarify things such as your student's vaccination status or details about a recent positive COVID test.

When the COVID case numbers start to decline in our community, we may look at phasing out the identifying of close contacts in the classroom and lunchroom and just send a general notice. This would be the same process that we use for notifying families of any other infectious disease (such as strep throat or influenza).

We will continue to email general information to the entire grade level when someone tests positive and was in school while they were considered infectious. General info will also be sent out for positive cases on the bus, in Aventuras or in the after-school activities.


The MN Dept of Health recommends wearing a high-quality mask to help limit COVID-19, including variants like Omicron. Examples of high-quality masks include N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets.

If you do not have this type of mask, wear a mask with two or more layers of tightly woven fabric. You can also layer a disposable mask under a cloth mask to increase effectiveness. The cloth mask should press the edges of the disposable mask snugly against your face.

Do not wear face coverings made of thinner, loosely woven, or single-layer fabric such as certain types of masks, scarves, neck gaiters, or bandannas. They are not as effective for blocking droplets that come out when speaking, coughing, or sneezing. If you wear a scarf or neck gaiter for warmth, also wear a mask underneath it.