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SPPS to Begin In-Person Learning February 1

Hmoob | Espol | Soomaali | Karen

Dear SPPS Families:

I am writing to share an update about our commitment to return to in-person learning at Saint Paul Public Schools. Yesterday, Governor Walz announced new guidelines that will allow elementary schools to start welcoming students and staff back as soon as Monday, January 18. This is good news, and we are updating our plans to begin in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible.

The Governor’s revised Safe Learning Plan requires that elementary schools bring students back in groups, with no more than three grade levels starting at one time. After that, additional grade levels can begin coming back at two-week intervals. 

In order to allow adequate time for our families, teachers and school staff to plan for this transition, including implementation of important health and safety measures, we are planning to start bringing students back for full-time in-person learning on Monday, February 1, starting with our youngest learners.

On Monday, February 1, the following students will begin full-time in-person learning at their schools:

  • All students in Pre-K through 2nd grade

  • Special education students ages birth to grade 2

  • Students in our Special Education Federal IV programs and special sites such as The Downtown School (JDC), care & treatment program, hospital program, Bridge View, Focus Beyond (Pathway 1 & 2), River East and Journeys

On Tuesday, February 16, students in grades 3 through 5 will begin full-time in-person learning.

These plans apply to most of our elementary schools, but there may be some differences depending on the school. Families will receive more information as details are confirmed.

For our teachers and school staff, this transition period will include:

  • Week of January 18: COVID-19 testing will be available for all staff involved in the transition to in-person learning. These tests will be available for staff to take every two weeks.
  • Week of January 25: Teachers and other school staff will continue transition planning efforts. This will include a number of days to be determined without student instruction. 

Pre-K through 5th grade students, including students who receive special education services in those grades, who wish to stay in distance learning for the remainder of the school year are asked to enroll in the Virtual Learning School by Friday, January 8, if they haven’t done so already.  

If your preferred learning model has changed due to this announcement, please contact the Student Placement Center at 651-632-3760.

Secondary Schools
Secondary students (grades 6 through 12) will remain in distance learning for the time being. We are working on ways to support middle and high school students who may be falling behind in their learning. This includes a new opportunity for students who are struggling to receive in-person learning support at their schools. More information about this program will be coming after winter break.

Distance learning has been challenging for all of us. We are excited to be getting closer to in-person learning, and promise to provide regular updates as details are finalized. In the meantime, I hope your family can take advantage of winter break to stay healthy, spend time with loved ones in your households, and look forward to a return to the classroom in the new year.

On behalf of myself, the Board of Education and our dedicated SPPS staff, I wish you all the health and happiness the holiday season brings. Thank you for placing your trust in us.

In partnership,


Joe Gothard, Superintendent