St. Paul Public Schools starts steps to switch some students to part-time in classroom

Eric Chaloux
Updated: October 04, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: October 04, 2020 07:23 PM

Learning online won't be the only option for more than 500 St. Paul Public Schools students who will now be returning to the classroom at a select number of schools on Oct. 19.

The school district said it met all 23 of its readiness targets during the COVID-19 pandemic to now transition to "Stage 1" hybrid learning for a few buildings.

Students in these seven learning models/schools are scheduled to switch to a hybrid model of education:

  • The Downtown School
  • Care & treatment program
  • Hospital program
  • Bridge View
  • Focus Beyond (Pathway 1 and 2)
  • River East
  • Journeys

“As planning to reopen our school district progressed this summer, it became clear that bringing staff and students back in stages would be the best and most logistically feasible way to accommodate the diverse needs of our large school community,” SPPS Superintendent Joe Gothard said.  

Nick Faber, president of the St. Paul Federation of Educators told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that some staff are apprehensive about returning to the buildings that mostly serve special needs students in a matter of days.

“I know a number of our members are ready to move back on Thursday, but there’s another of our members, especially with really medically fragile students that are just worried and what this is going to look like,” Faber said.

The school district said in a statement that it's shared safety protocols with staff members so they have the information they need.

“We’ve successfully used those protocols to keep students and staff safe for several months in our Essential Kids Care and Discovery Club locations,” the statement said in part.

SPPS will give families the option to continue distance learning for the rest of the school year if they do not feel comfortable sending their child back in the hybrid platform.

The school district will make a decision on Oct. 14 whether any students in stages 2-4 will be able to transition to hybrid learning by mid-November, according to the district.

“Our ultimate goal is to welcome all students and school staff back to our buildings when it is safe and possible to do so,” Gothard said.

SPPS told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they have readiness targets that will be measured regularly to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved remains their "top priority."

The Minnesota Department of Health announced new COVID-19 data on Friday from Minnesota public, private and tribal schools since the start of the year.

According to MDH statistics, there have been 864 cases involving students and staff detected at 509 buildings since the start of the school year.

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