When we started working with students, none of us knew that we would have to teach during a global pandemic. It has been challenging for all of us, but our members here in St. Paul have risen to the occasion, providing high quality public education to thousands of students in our community.
We know educators have a lot of questions about working during COVID-19 and accommodation or leave options. We built this FAQ to answer many of them. You can support co-workers who need sick leave by donating to the Sick Leave Banks for EAs and Licensed staff.
Keep reading for more information about about reopening in St. Paul Public School and keeping yourself and your students safe.
- February 1: Grades pre-K-2 and stage 1 Special Education schools will return to in-person learning with full classrooms, for parents who choose to attend.
- February 15: Grades 3-5 will return to in-person learning with full classrooms, for parents who choose to attend.
- February 22: Grades 6-12 in-person academic supports will start, if Ramsey County case numbers stay below 30 out of 10,000 for two weeks.
- April 14: Grades 6-12 return to in-person learning. There are no clear plans yet on what this will look like or how it will impact student schedules or instruction.
Find SPFE’s Classroom Safety Checklist here. Stewards and other members should use this information to make sure their work site is safe and prepared before reopening. Information about how to address safety issues in your building are also included.
Re-opening Concerns Report Form: Report any unsafe conditions at your site and unsound learning conditions for in-person or virtual learning. We want to collect your contact information so that we can contact you to follow up if need be.
SPFE is tracking coronavirus information from schools about COVID-19 exposure. If there is a COVID-19 case reported at your building, report it here.
Saint Paul Public Schools is also tracking COVID-19 cases. If there is a COVID case at your building, use the district’s form to report it.
Does your classroom need an air purifier?
SPPS and SPFE have agreed in our MOA that any classroom that the District shall focus HEPA filter purifiers on spaces that the most recent Indoor Air Quality sampling (2018) measured CO2 concentrations of more than 1100 PPM. Check your classrooms rating (column F) at this link.
If the district is not providing your classroom with an air purifier, you can bring in your own if you’d like. Any HEPA purifiers staff bring to an SPPS site must be UL listed and have a grounded (3-pronged) plug. Ionized air purifiers will not be allowed because they create ozone. Read more here about the effectiveness of air purifiers.
SPFE COVID-19 Safety Training
SPFE leader and SPPS school nurse, Tom Stinson put together this training for SPFE members on COVID-19 and what you need to know about symptoms, reporting cases, and staying safe when schools reopen. Slides for this training are at this link. You can watch the training here:
As members begin to return to buildings, MDH will be providing on-site COVID testing to those working fully in-person on Monday of every other week. For Feb. 1, this would be all staff in PreK-2. All other staff can order a free test anytime at https://www.vaulthealth.com/covid. The test is free, but you will be asked to provide your health insurance info. All citizens of MN are eligible to order these tests as often as they’d like. You must use a test before ordering another one.
Your SPFE bargaining team met with the district this past week to discuss our reopening memorandum of agreement. We have over 20 tentative agreements and just a few items remaining open for discussion, including the potential for new proposals regarding the secondary reopening.
Return to In-Person Learning Questions and Concerns
SPPS announced that students in Pre-K-2 and stage 1 will return to in-person learning with full classrooms on Monday, February 1. Students in grades 3-5 will return to in-person learning with full classrooms on Monday, February 15th. Previous safety plans for a hybrid model and opening only when community spread is low are no longer being followed and elementary students will not maintain social distancing when they return.
Secondary students (grades 6-12) will come into buildings for targeted support starting sometime in February. Individual buildings are developing plans.
Members who have been asking questions and raising concerns have been critical in highlighting that we are not ready for a safe return at this time! We have compiled those questions and district responses at this link.
Memoranda of Agreement
With the transition to distance learning in Spring 2019, SPFE and Saint Paul Public Schools have been negotiating about working conditions for educators. The agreed up on MOAs can be found below.
- COVID-19 Memorandum of Agreement 1: Additional Benefits and Essential Care Site – Includes student safety, sick leave provisions, Essential Kid Care site pay, and voluntary layoff information.
- COVID-19 Memorandum of Agreement 2: Distance Learning – Includes agreements on leave and substitutes, asynchronous learning, connections with families, improvement plans, and more.
- COVID-19 Special Education Memorandum of Agreement – Includes special education services, delayed and incomplete evaluations, personal protective equipment provisions, and distance learning.
- Hybrid Memorandum of Agreement-Provisions for any hybrid learning plan.