Keith Jacobus said last week he will step down as superintendent of the South Washington County Schools in September, rather than next year as he had previously announced.

“The timing is never right, but we have put in place a great strategic plan and most importantly, a great leadership team,” Jacobus said, according to a news release.

The board moved to install Julie Nielsen as Jacobus’ successor. She has been with the district for 26 years, the last six as assistant superintendent.

Jacobus, who has been district superintendent since 2012, had planned to retire in June. But he told the board that the pandemic had prompted him to reflect on his life. “I long to spend more time with my family,” he said.



Board allocates CARES Act funding

The Anoka County Board has accepted $43.4 million in federal CARES Act funding, which it will use to cover county expenses and help small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic.

About $32.7 million will go toward reimbursing county staff costs, facility modifications and telework support related to COVID-19. That includes $300,000 for upcoming elections, $150,000 for three additional trucks and $259,000 to upgrade video conferencing technology.

The board earmarked $5.2 million to help small businesses defray costs or service interruptions, and $5.5 million will be available for nonprofits that provide assistance to people affected by COVID-19.



COVID projects get $3K in minigrants

Eight projects that address the effects of COVID-19 on mental health and housing stability in diverse communities have been awarded mini-grants by Hennepin County’s Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP).

The grants, which total $3,000, went to projects including a virtual event led by Asian American healers, mask-making sessions for Native Americans, self-care packages for people with disabilities in public housing, and summer-learning kits at Sabathani Community Center.

“People had ideas that we partners around the table never would have thought of,” said Karen Nikolai, the county’s CHIP coordinator. The grant program, she said, “solidifies our belief that communities know what’s best when we take the time to listen.”



City requires masks, a step ahead of Walz

The Eagan City Council adopted an emergency order last week requiring face masks inside public places to slow the spread of COVID-19 — an order that was soon superseded by Gov. Tim Walz’s order requiring masks in public places across the state.

Council members said they had expected Walz’s order but didn’t want to wait. “It doesn’t hurt us to do it,” said Council Member Cyndee Fields.

“My hope is that [the order] would be from the governor and I’m optimistic of that,” Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said, adding that anyone watching the news should understand the importance of masks to public health.

Eagan joined other suburbs that had ordered faces covered in public, including Blaine, Edina, Minnetonka, Roseville and White Bear Lake.

Erin Adler