Senator Benson approves local control for schools; wonders if state plans are workable

(St. Paul, MN) – Back to school plans were announced by Governor Walz on Thursday. The administration is allowing local districts to plan their initial return, though under state guidelines and with the knowledge that the Department of Health will monitor every district on a two-week rolling average. The plan ranges from in-person schooling, to hybrid, to fully online, but there are different standards for elementary and secondary schools. Depending on spikes in covid cases, the Governor could mandate statewide distance learning, once more. The metrics influencing potential statewide closure in the future are currently unclear.

Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake ) weighed in on the announcement, saying, “I am glad local school districts will have some level of autonomy while planning their school year. I hope many districts are able to implement quality in-person plans.

Sen. Benson continued, “The initial concern is the question of workability – will the guidelines set out by the governor’s administration be clear cut enough? Closure decisions may still be unilaterally made in St. Paul, which ultimately takes away local control. I hope the complicated nature of these plans will not cause unnecessary and constant disruption for students.”

Schools are instructed to implement mask and social distancing standards for all in-person education, but further measures are left up to the discretion of the district.