'It’s going to be very exciting': St. Paul parents prepare to send young learners back to the classroom

St. Paul will reopen doors for elementary students starting this week. (FOX 9)

On Monday around 5,000 students in grades Pre-K through second will be going back to the classroom for learning for the first time since March.

The return of the youngest elementary school students is part of St. Paul Public School’s return to in-person learning plan.

As part of that plan, students in grades three through five will return to the classroom on February 16. The district says, at that point, there will be around 11,000 students learning in person.

"Our youngest ones have never been to school so I’m really excited for them to experience school outside of the dining room table," parent Danielle Matthias said.

Her Pre-K child is going back to school on Monday. Her first-grader who is enrolled in some special education classes will not be returning to the classroom. Matthias said she doesn’t feel he would do well with the transition in the middle of the year.

"It really was nice to choose what was best for our family and what was best for each of our kids’ individual needs," Matthias said.

Matthias’ sister, Jacqueline Robinson, will also be sending one child back to school this week and keeping another child home, saying she’s basing her decision on what’s best for her individual children.

"It’s going to be very exciting. Odd, but exciting," Robinson said. "At some point, we have to slowly go back into it and we have to slowly go back and figure out what our new norm is." 

Meanwhile, teachers in the St. Paul Federation of Educators continue urging the district to support their demands. They are asking for every educator to be vaccinated before returning to the classroom, in addition to other safety measures such as better access to PPE and better air filtration in school buildings.

The SPFE has held several demonstrations to try and get the district to give in to their demands. For more information on the St. Paul Federation of Educators’ demands, click here.

St. Paul Public Schools says they are reopening "following all of the requirements and recommendations laid out in the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan. You can learn more about that plan here.