More than 500 students will return to St. Paul public school classrooms on Oct. 19 in Stage 1 of a hybrid learning program.

“As planning to reopen our school district progressed this summer, it became clear that bringing staff and students back in stages would be the best and most logistically feasible way to accommodate the diverse needs of our large school community,” Superintendent Joe Gothard said in a news release from the district.

Schools in Stage 1 hybrid learning include Bridgeview School, Focus Beyond School, the Downtown School, the Care & Treatment program, the Hospital program, River East and Journeys.

Families of students in Stage 1 will receive more information in the coming days. Those not comfortable with their student returning to school have the option to register for the district’s Virtual Learning School and continue with distance learning for the entire school year. More information is available at

Approximately 650 staff members will be involved with hybrid learning in Stage 1.

The district will decide on Oct. 14 whether to begin the other three stages on Nov. 16. Families in each stage will receive surveys about their readiness to transition. More information is available at

Meanwhile, the district is opening a new Academic Support Center at Washington Technology Magnet School on Oct. 12. The center will provide one to four hours a day of in-person learning support for students at all grade levels during the district’s distance learning. Additional sites may follow, depending on demand and staff availability.

The centers will provide academic support, not classroom instruction.

Participating students require a referral. Schools refer students based on their academic needs, and families can request a referral beginning Oct. 16.

Nutrition Services will provide snacks in the morning and afternoon. Transportation can be arranged at registration, but may not always be available. The center will follow state requirements for pandemic protection, including masks, social distancing and hand washing.