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Stage 2 Hybrid Decision - October 30, 2020

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Dear Saint Paul Public Schools Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue planning to transition to hybrid learning in stages. We appreciate your ongoing support during these challenging times.

Last Friday, we told you we could not move forward with hybrid learning for Stage 2 students due to a national backorder of MERV 11 air filters, which catch 10 times more COVID-sized particles during air circulation. The remaining filters arrived earlier this week and are ready to be installed in the buildings that still need them.

While this is good news, one readiness target is preventing SPPS from starting hybrid learning for Stage 2 at this time:

The 14-day COVID-19 case rate for Ramsey County has increased to 31.03 cases per 10,000 people. With increasing positivity rates, this trend may continue impacting both Ramsey County and the City of Saint Paul.

Because of this, we have decided that Stage 2, as well as Stages 3 and 4, will stay in distance learning until at least Tuesday, January 19. 

Our SPPS readiness targets state the county case rate should be under 30 to begin a new stage of hybrid learning. While the state allows hybrid learning for elementary schools at case rates up to 50, we have chosen to take a more conservative approach when deciding to begin a new stage. 

We regularly consult with Ramsey County and the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education to help guide our decision-making around programs that are already on-site, as well as decisions about starting hybrid learning for any other stages. 

Stage 1 and other in-person programs will continue to operate at this time. The measurements for dialing back from hybrid to distance learning or closing a site are different from the readiness targets to begin a new stage of hybrid learning. Possible reasons for a temporary shift to distance learning include:

  • Quarantine of a class(es), grade(s) or entire school (14 days)
  • Infection control measures such as extended deep cleaning (24 hours)
  • Inability to maintain staffing levels

If any of the above situations arise, those affected are notified and must follow the guidance from the site leader and Health & Wellness. Others in the building will receive a notification of low risk.

We understand and apologize for the added stress this process has put on our students, families and staff. While we keep working toward hybrid learning for our other stages, please know that our teachers and support staff are doing everything they can to make distance learning the best it can be. 

We hope you are taking advantage of the in-person services we have available now, including the Academic Support Center, Extended Day for Learning programs, Health Start Clinics, and free meal pickup and delivery. Regardless of our current or future learning model, your student’s education and well-being remain our top priorities.

Thank you for supporting your students, and Saint Paul Public Schools. Please continue to check your email and visit spps.org/reopen2020 for the latest information. 

Be well and stay safe.

 

In partnership,

Joe Gothard signature

Joe Gothard, Superintendent