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Saint Paul Public Schools announce move to distance learning

The decision was made official at a Wednesday night school board meeting.
Credit: Jetta Productions

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — In a Wednesday night meeting, Saint Paul Public Schools announced the district will officially start the fall school year with distance learning, joining Minneapolis Public Schools in their decision to start the year without students in classrooms.

The resolution, passed by the Board of Education, also allows Superintendent Dr. Joseph Gothard to make changes to the plan throughout the school year.

The five-part plan outlines the steps and precautions needed to eventually return all students and staff to a physical classroom, safety and cleanliness measures, and supports for students, staff and families.

The plan also outlines a tentative schedule for returning to in-person classes. Students will start in the year in a fully-online environment, then move to a hybrid model with students in school two days a week and remote learning for the other three. The plan states that the goal for the 20-21 school year is to get all students, teachers and staff back into classrooms full-time, except for those families who opt for the SPPS Virtual Learning School. 

Some of the factors the district will consider before considering moving students to a hybrid model include: 

  • Community virus spread
  • Sufficient on-site staffing
  • Transportation and meal logistics 
  • Providing families with enough time to adjust to a new schedules

The Board of Education will decide on Sept. 25 if students will be able to move to a hybrid model that would start on Oct. 19. 

This decision comes after Gov. Tim Walz's announcement that Minnesota school districts will be able to make their own decision on students returning to classrooms, based on guidelines from the state.

Minneapolis Public Schools will start with distance learning as well, while Anoka-Hennepin, another major metro school district, chose hybrid learning to start their school year.