2021-01-12 17:48:06 –
Thousands of students will continue to learn from home as St. Paul’s Public School reopens elementary school for face-to-face classes next month.
According to data provided by the school district, 37% of elementary school students are obsessed with distance learning.
Preference varies widely with student demographics. Only 29% of white students chose distance learning, but half of the Asian students in the district are at home.
The family had to declare their choices until Monday prior to the teaching shift on February 1. In the future, students will be able to easily switch from face-to-face to distance learning, but if they want to change in the opposite direction, they may be put on the waiting list.
Governor Tim Walz announced on December 16 that primary schools throughout the state could be reopened on January 18, regardless of local prevalence, in light of the discovery that infants rarely spread the coronavirus. ..
St. Paul’s director Joe Gossard said the next day, grades 2 and younger would be invited on February 1st, and grades 3-5 would be invited on February 16th.
With a few exceptions, St. Paul’s students have been out of school since March 9, when teachers went on strike and a pandemic struck the state.
The story of the strike has resurfaced among teachers since the announcement of Gottard as the St. Paul’s Federation of Educators opposed plans to reopen.
In a video conference with district parents on Friday, union president Nick Farber said union members were not engaged in contract negotiations and could not counteract their dissatisfaction with the reopening.
“I want to be clear, I can’t do that,” he said.
However, the union has pressured the district to keep the school building closed and encourages parents to do the same. These efforts included a car rally that took place at district headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.
The union wants teachers to continue working from home, at least until they can be vaccinated.
“Why are you in a hurry for this to come back?” Farber said on Friday.
The district’s chief operating officer, Jackie Turner, said in a video conference Thursday with the Minnesota Parents’ Union that the first shot should be available to teachers in late February. It may take several months for all staff to be inoculated. Elementary school staff have access before working from home, but the district does not require anyone to be vaccinated.
On the same phone, Gottard stated why he would resume in three weeks.
Other metro schools have also succeeded in face-to-face lessons while taking health measures, and the childcare program in the St. Paul area is proceeding smoothly. He noted that coronavirus case rates have dropped significantly in recent weeks and said he was worried about many students who were “lagging” during distance learning.
Gottard and Turner also responded to many concerns raised by the teachers union.
- They said they had installed new air filtration systems in all schools. However, the union has pointed out advice from the Environmental Protection Agency that filters should be rated above MERV-13 in order to catch particles as small as the coronavirus. The school district filter rating is MERV-11.
- They said that more than 90% of elementary school classrooms in the school district are large enough to allow student desks to be placed 3 feet apart. The state’s revised guidance recommends, but does not require, such distances.
- The school bus uses assigned seats and the siblings sit next to each other. The average bus in the district carries 30-40 students, which is about half their capacity.
- Students and staff must wear face masks and the district has extras for those who have forgotten. The classroom will also be equipped with hand sanitizers.
- Most students have lunch in the classroom because the cafeteria doesn’t have enough space to stay six feet away.
- Gottard said he didn’t have the metrics he had in mind as to how much the pandemic had to get worse before St. Paul returned to distance learning. However, he said he was forced to close other districts due to the large number of absent staff and the lack of substitute teachers.
At least one school board member endorsed the teachers union. Chauntyll Allen said at a board meeting last week that students were “extremely worried” about returning to the school building.
“We don’t want to be a contributor to the pandemic,” she said.
3 in every 8 St. Paul students pick distance learning over return to school – Twin Cities Source link 3 in every 8 St. Paul students pick distance learning over return to school – Twin Cities