St. Paul to start bringing students back to school buildings Feb. 1

Students have been distancing learning since the start of the pandemic last spring.
Publish date:

Students in St. Paul Public Schools have been distance learning for since the pandemic began in March, but come Feb. 1, 2021, some elementary school students will return to the classrooms. 

This comes after Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced a revised plan that allows elementary schools to choose if they want to return to distance learning as early as Jan. 18, regardless of county COVID-19 rates.  

Related: All elementary schools can move to in-person learning under new executive order

While details are still being finalized, St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard on Thursday announced the district's plan to bring the youngest learners back into the classroom, with students in Pre-K through second-grade at most schools returning to full-time in-person learning on Feb. 1. 

"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," Gothard's announcement said. 

Students in special education from birth to second-grade and students in the district's Special Education Federal IV programs will also return to in-person programs on Feb. 1. 

Meanwhile, students in third-grade through fifth-grade will return to in-person learning at most schools on Tuesday, Feb. 16. 

The state's revised Safe Learning Plan requires tests be available for teachers and staff to get tested every two weeks, with the district saying staff will start getting tested the week of Jan. 18. 

And the week of Jan. 25, teachers and school staff will continue to plan for the transition back to distance learning, which means there will be a "number of days" without student instruction. More details on that are forthcoming, the district says. 

Meanwhile, families of students in Pre-K through fifth-grade who want to stay in distance learning for the remainder of the school year are asked to enroll in the district's Virtual Learning School by Friday, Jan. 8, if they haven't already done so. 

Older students in sixth-grade through 12th-grade will remain distance learning "for the time being," Gothard says, noting in-person programs to help students who are falling behind will be announced after winter break.

The Pioneer Press notes that the district had been preparing to transition students into a hybrid learning model in January, but following the governor's announcement, those plans have been scrapped. 

The latest forecast from Novak Weather

Next Up

Grand casino

Grand Casino celebrates 30th anniversary with more than cake

Hundreds of thousands of winning dollars are on the table.

Brodd defense witness

As defense starts, expert argues Chauvin's use of force was reasonable

Use-of-force expert Barry Brodd testified on behalf of the defense.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball

Minnehaha Academy produces back-to-back award winners for the second time in state history.

Byron Buxton

Red Sox out-slug Twins in chilly matinee

Bobby Dalbec hit two RBI doubles to hand the Twins their third straight loss.

Governor Tim Walz

As CDC urges Michigan to shut down, Gov. Walz watches closely

Walz says there are no imminent plans to dial back.


Man, 26, collapses and dies at event center shortly after altercation

The incident was reported Saturday night in Stearns County.

Allina Crossroads Campus

Allina Health will reopen Buffalo clinic after fatal mass shooting

A timeline about when the clinic will reopen hasn't been released.



Take a look at St. Paul Public Schools' back-to-school planning

Families will have the option for distance learning no matter what the state decides.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minneapolis Public Schools to bring middle, high students back in April

Distance learning will continue be offered to those who want it.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

90% of MN schools now offer in-person learning, 55% of teachers vaccinated

Gov. Tim Walz had set March 8 as the date for when schools would be expected to offer in-person learning.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minneapolis teachers union questions return to in-person instruction

Elementary students are set to return to the classroom in February – nearly a year after they shifted to distance learning.

Minnesota Orchestra

Minnesota Orchestra will welcome back audience members starting in June

The orchestra has been streaming its performances since the start of the pandemic.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 3.33.57 PM

Serious crime was up 15% in St. Paul in 2020

“This was an incredibly hard year for all of us,” Police Chief Todd Axtell said, citing riots and the pandemic.

St. Paul Federation of Educators

36,000 students out of school as teacher strike begins in St. Paul

A strike begins immediately after failed negotiations reached a deadline.


COVID outbreak forces Bloomington Public Schools back to distance learning

Younger students had been back in their classrooms for just over a week.