Reopen SPPS Plans
Four Stages of Hybrid Learning
Hybrid Stage 1 (HS1)
Special Education Federal IV Programs and Special Sites: The Downtown School (JDC), Care and Treatment Hospital, Bridge View School, Focus Beyond Pathway 1 and 2, River East Secondary, Journeys Secondary
Hybrid Stage 2 (HS2)
All PreK-2 including special education, Special Education Programs: ECSE Programs, Birth-PreK, Federal III K-12 Autism and DCD Specialized Classrooms, Montessori E1
Hybrid Stage 3 (HS3)
All 3-5 including special education
Hybrid Stage 4 (HS 4)
All 6-12 including special education
Saint Paul Public Schools’ ultimate goal is to welcome students and school staff back to our buildings when it is safe and possible to do so. As fall planning 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 has developed four stages of hybrid learning, grouping students by special education programs and grade bands. Stage 1 includes our Special Education Fed. IV programs and special sites, which are:
- The Downtown School (JDC)
- Care & Treatment
- Bridge View
- Focus Beyond (Pathway 1 & 2)
- River East
These programs have important therapies and supports, including one-on-one academic support and therapeutic services including physical and occupational therapy, that are best delivered in person. Stage 1 families and staff were surveyed about their readiness to return to buildings. Families that are not comfortable with their students returning to school will have a distance learning option if the decision is made to move to hybrid learning.
For more information on the specific guidance for special education programs, see pages 44-52 of the MDE Planning Guidance for Public Schools.
If it is decided to transition to hybrid learning for one or more of the above stages, those students will be in Distance Learning three days a week and on-site two days a week on the below schedule. Families in these stages will receive surveys about their readiness to return to hybrid learning.
At SPPS, the hybrid schedule will split students into two groups, which each group in school two days per week and distance learning the other three days. Efforts will be made to place siblings on the same schedule. SPPS is working to develop distance learning support options for the days that students are not in school.
More details and background on why this hybrid schedule was chosen are available at spps.org/hybrid.
Hybrid Readiness Targets
In addition to the COVID-19 case rate in Ramsey County, 23 other readiness targets will be considered in order for any stage to move into hybrid learning. These targets include building readiness, adequate supply of PPE, finalized health protocols, viable transportation and meal service plans, and available instructional staff.
Note: Targets with * must be met. Others are factors to be weighed.
Access and Connection
- 95% of stage students have iPad access*
- 95% of stage students have wifi connection*
- 50% of students are comfortable with transition (Stage 4 secondary only)
- 50% of stage families are comfortable with transition
- 50% of stage staff are comfortable with transition
- 100% of stage sites have completed room use mapping (including cafeterias) for 50% capacity and social distancing*
- 100% of stage sites have coordinated room capacities and furniture arrangement with class schedules
- 100% of stage sites have completed building systems readiness checklist*
- 100% of stage sites have PPE inventory for staff, students, and visitors*
Health and Wellness
- 14-day case rate by county is under 30 per 10,000*
- 80% of stage teachers have completed Culturally Responsive Instruction PD
- 95% of stage schools report that all teachers are posting daily lessons in Seesaw or Schoology*
- 100% of stage schools have plan for on site meal service*
- 100% of stage nutrition staff trained for onsite meal delivery and off-site meal delivery
- 100% of stage schools have implemented health protocols guidelines*
- 95% of stage schools have verified enrollment in preparation for Oct. 1*
- 95% of enrollment in VLS are verified per stage school*
- 95% of stage school have verified Hybrid/VLS schedules*
- 95% of the stage school instructional staff needed for are available
- 90% of stage site custodial assignments are revised and additional custodians needed are available*
- 80% of bus drivers needed for stage routes are available*
- 100% of the Nutrition Services off-site delivery positions are filled
- 80% of Nutrition Services on-site positions for stage schools are filled*
- 100% of stage programs have viable transportation plan*
COVID-19 Health Protocols
SPPS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students, staff and their families. Some of the changes that staff, students and families will see when returning to school include a masking policy, passive health screening guidelines, and changes to our cleaning protocols and meal service, among others. Building leaders have collaborated on these guidelines and are prepared to implement them at our schools.
Some of these health protocols include:
- COVID-19 Student and Family Guidelines
- Updated reporting system for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms
- Guidance around masking (cloth face coverings)
- Health screening checklist and guidelines
- Signage around masking, social distancing/floor markings, health screening checklist, handwashing and COVID-19 symptoms
SPPS Virtual Learning School
Regardless of the scenario that MDE advises school districts to follow, SPPS will be offering SPPS Virtual Learning School throughout the year for any family who does not want their students to attend an in-person or hybrid schooling option for the 2020-2021 school year.
SPPS Virtual Learning will maintain a student's path to graduation and will address state standards.
Academic Support Centers
SPPS will begin offering in-person academic, technical and social/emotional learning support for Pre-K-12 students starting in October. More information about the referral process, hours, locations and health protocols is coming soon.
Distance Learning 2.0
When Distance Learning was introduced this spring, it was an emergency response to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Since that time, SPPS has engaged several stakeholder groups for feedback. We listened to that feedback, and will introduce Distance Learning 2.0 as an improved platform for learning for the 2020-21 school year.
Our staff is committed to providing students and families the high-quality learning opportunities they expect. This fall, students will experience a new way of organizing lessons, one that aligns the look and feel of Schoology and Seesaw between courses to make them easier to navigate. There will be more “same time” learning, and grading expectations will be explained at the beginning of the course.
Instruction for Distance Learning 2.0 will have daily same-time (synchronous) lessons for all students. Using technology tools we have in place, there will also be daily student-to-student interaction. More information about Distance Learning 2.0 will be shared in the coming weeks.
Special Education & Multilingual Learners
We know that distance learning in the spring was particularly challenging for our special education and English Language (EL) students. Special education teachers will meet virtually with families at the beginning of the school year to discuss individualized student needs and services for the 2020-21 school year. Trained interpreters will be available to support communication with families as needed. Service delivery will be individualized to meet IEP/IFSP goals and align with the learning model that SPPS is in at any given time.
English Language (EL) learners will have access to standards-based content courses as well as differentiated instruction in all academic content areas in each learning model (distance learning, hybrid or in person). In all stages, educators will follow the EL service models:
Early Childhood Services (Pre-K and ECSE)
Students enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) programs will be provided regular instruction through Seesaw, resources from the School Home Partners in Learning program (available in multiple languages) as well as "Talk, Read, Write, Play, Sing" family learning opportunities. All Pre-Kindergarten students will receive an iPad and learning kit, which contains hands-on materials to enrich learning opportunities.
It is a regular feature of SPPS Pre-K programming that families agree to collaborate and support learning activities with their children. This will continue in Distance Learning.
Students receiving Early Childhood Special Education services will have learning activities tailored to their IFSP and IEP goals, including consulting with caregivers on implementing strategies during daily routines.
Meal Service during Distance Learning
We will continue to provide meal boxes through home delivery and curbside pickup while SPPS is in distance learning. All students eligible for free or reduced-price meals will receive meals at no cost. Additional details are being finalized and will be shared in the coming weeks.
All families should fill out the Application for Educational Benefits/Free or Reduced Price Meals. Applications are available online on SchoolCafe, and paper applications will be mailed to homes in the coming weeks. These applications are very important; please fill one out even if you don’t think you qualify.
In-School Meal Service
When we are back to in-person learning for students, SPPS will adjust our typical breakfast and lunch service in each of our schools.
Salad bars and self-service options will be replaced with full-service meals in clamshell containers. Nutrition staff will have acrylic dividers and/or face shields to use during meal service.
Cafeteria attendants and additional lunch monitors will assist with traffic flow, cleaning and customer service. Weekly meal boxes will be provided to students to take home for their distance learning days, if applicable.
Breakfast: Breakfast service will continue with slight modifications to allow for social distancing and some menu changes. Breakfast will be prepackaged in breakfast bags, and students will pick up milk on their way to class. Students will continue to eat breakfast in their classroom.
Lunch: School cafeterias will be used for serving and eating lunch. In buildings where the cafeteria is not large enough to meet social distancing guidelines, classrooms may be used as overflow dining space. Hallways will be used for students lining up, partitions will be placed between Nutrition staff and students, and reusable clamshells will replace traditional lunch trays.
SPPS is pleased to offer two childcare options while the district is in distance learning or a hybrid scenario. SPPS students ages 12 and under who are children of Tier 1 critical workers will be cared for at no cost during normal school hours. Register for Essential Kids Care here.
For families who do not qualify as Tier 1 Critical Workers, a fee-based full-day childcare program will be availableat four schools. Register for Discovery Club here.
Both programs will be staffed by non-licensed child care staff. Children will be grouped with the same small group of peers and staff each day. Masks will be required, and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for childcare programs will be strictly enforced.
Time will be set aside for students to work on their distance learning. They will be expected to work independently with minimal supervision. Breakfast and lunch are also provided.
Safe Learning Models
The Minnesota Department of Education has asked school districts to plan for fall based on these three models:
Scenario 1: In-person learning for all students
- Create as much space between students and teachers as is feasible during the day
- Not held strictly to enforcing 6 feet of social distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom
- Implemented if state COVID-19 metrics continue to stabilize and/or improve
Scenario 2: Hybrid model with strict social distancing and capacity limits
- Limit the overall number of people in school facilities and on transportation vehicles to 50% maximum occupancy
- Sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times
- Contactless pick-up and/or delivery of meals and school materials for days that students and staff are not in the school building
- School-age care program for students of critical workers
- Implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen at the local, regional or statewide level OR within individual school(s) if they experience clusters of cases within a classroom or the school
Scenario 3: Distance learning only
- Schools may be open to provide emergency childcare or other functions
- Implemented if local, regional or statewide COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require the suspension of in-person learning
In addition, SPPS will offer SPPS Virtual Learning school for any family who does not want their students to attend an in-person or hybrid schooling option for the 2020-2021 school year.
Facilities and Operations staff are working on readiness plans and protocols for getting our buildings ready for in-person and hybrid scenarios, which include:
- Hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and wipes in every classroom
- Water bottles for every student
- Continuation of the four-tiered cleaning plan that has been in place since March
- Running enhanced filtration and mechanical systems longer every day to draw in more fresh outside air
- Final analysis of classroom capacity, cafeteria and kitchen layouts to ensure safe service
Additional information about our facilities plan will be shared in the coming weeks.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
Student Health and Wellness, Environmental Services Group (ESG), Security and Emergency Management, and custodial staff are working closely together to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Saint Paul Public Schools follows a four-tiered cleaning plan to reports of COVID-19 related symptoms and/or diagnosis.
Our custodial staff will significantly increase the wiping down and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces across our buildings and throughout the school day. We will also provide greater access to cleaning materials for our teachers and staff so that they can clean and disinfect spaces, as needed.
Each evening, our custodial team will conduct a thorough cleaning of our spaces, again disinfecting high-touch surfaces like sinks, drinking fountains, door handles, tables and desks.
Ensuring students remain physically distanced on school buses is a significant challenge. If SPPS is operating on a hybrid schedule, which requires a maximum 50% occupancy, all students will sit one to a seat. Students within the same household should sit together.
Students will load the bus from the back to the front. For example, at the first stop on the route, students should seat themselves at the back of the bus.
Families are responsible for monitoring their students’ health and keeping them home if they are ill. Please do not send a sick child to the bus stop. Students and staff will be required to wear masks on the bus when traveling to or from school.
We are working closely with our contracted transportation providers to ensure all buses are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis.
Focus on the needs of students and families.
Prioritize community well-being, including the social emotional and physical health needs of students and staff.
Champion equity and make sure students maintain progress toward their learning goals.
Design fiscally responsible and sustainable solutions.
Assumptions that Inform our Decision-Making
- There will be active cases of COVID-19 in Saint Paul or Ramsey County at the time of school opening and throughout the 2020-21 school year.
- There will not be a vaccine developed in time to impact the 2020-21 school year.
- There will be increased absenteeism or extended absences due to illness or exposure (isolation and quarantine).
- The District will be operating in an environment of significantly reduced state revenues.
- Costs to provide services will be atypical and may potentially be higher than prior years.
- There will be a cost in dollars, time, supplies and increased operational friction to reduce the risk of transmission.
- There will be an outbreak of COVID-19 during the school year at one or more of our schools that may require at least a temporary school closure. Schools may need to quickly pivot between delivery models as the COVID risk changes.
- Not all students at all grade levels will be on-campus at one time. Students may receive at least part of their instruction online or via other non seat-based means.
- Certain non-core functions of the District may be curtailed, postponed or eliminated.
- Large group assemblies (school assemblies, large-scale communal meal service, athletic events with large groups of spectators) will not be possible.
- When at school and where possible, students will limit movement between spaces to avoid cross-contamination and maintain social distancing requirements.
- There will be families who will not have their students participate in on-campus instruction for part, or the entirety, of the pandemic.
- There will be staff who are unable to return to their usual work locations due to health concerns. There will be staff who do not want to return to work.
- There will be staff that may not have work assignments (or a workload) based on how school is structured in 2020-21. Staff will have to perform different work responsibilities.
- More school staff may be needed; if a school model calls for smaller class sizes beyond contract language.
- There will be increased absenteeism or extended absences due to illness or exposure (isolation and quarantine).
- Teachers will need additional training to improve their digital instructional knowledge, skills, assessment, feedback and grading.
Reopen SPPS Work Groups
- COVID-19 impact on FY20 district finances
- Federal and State COIVD-19 funds
Communications, Engagement and Evaluation
- Communications plan
- Engagement plan
- Evaluation plan
Curriculum and Instruction
- Instructional design models for fall in three scenarios
- Spring Distance Learning review
- Student engagement in learning
- SpEd, ML and GT services
- Professional Development
Facilities and Operations
- Space usage plans, modeling social distancing and operational scenarios
- Implementation of social distancing, PPE and cleaning protocols
- Social distancing, PPE and other health guidelines
- Student and employee wellness manual
- Building visitor guidelines
Schedules, School Support Services
- School schedules in three scenarios
- Social/emotional supports
- First month of school planning
- School year contingencies for differing levels of building access
- Access to technology
- Logistics of iPad handout and set-up
- Technology maintenance and replacement
- Adjusting staffing and bargaining unit MOUs to evolving organizational needs
- Support for staff that are at elevated risk for COVID