St. Paul to start school year with distance learning; St. Cloud eyes hybrid plan

Gov. Walz announces plans for Minnesota schools for 2020-21 school year.
Gov. Tim Walz takes part in a news conference announcing the learning plan for Minnesota schools July 30.
Aaron Lavinsky | Star Tribune via AP file

Updated: 9:50 a.m.

The state’s second-largest school district won’t start the academic year with kids in classrooms, while the St. Cloud superintendent is recommending a hybrid plan this fall.

Citing the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and a survey of district families, the St. Paul school board opted Wednesday for distance learning to start the year Sept. 8. St. Paul joins Minneapolis in keeping kids at home for the start of school this year. 

The plan includes live instruction, a districtwide tech support service and more services for special education and English language learners.

The plan is temporary. The district says it will revisit the decision in late September, at a break, with an eye toward returning to schools in October. School officials are planning another revisit in late October.

Both reviews are aimed at determining whether a hybrid system, with a partial return to face-to-face classes, is safe and warranted.

In St. Cloud, the school district plans to use a hybrid plan for students this fall.

Superintendent Willie Jett is recommending students in kindergarten through second grade attend school for in-person learning Monday through Thursday.

Students in third to 12th grade will attend in-person classes two days a week on a rotating schedule. All students will do distance learning at home on Fridays.

The district also plans to require masks and social distancing, and increase cleaning and disinfection. The school board is expected to vote on the plan on Aug. 19.

The state’s largest district, Anoka Hennepin, is opting for a hybrid model, with students in school two days a week. Families there are expected to get their schedules next week.

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