Senator Kiffmeyer Legislative Update Week 2

Friends and neighbors,

We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through work, school, business, or just about any other aspect of life, I know we have been working hard to piece together any semblance of normalcy.

Seeing parents, business owners, friends and neighbors band together to make the best out of a disheartening situation has been inspirational.  Thank you!

One area that needs immediate action is the reopening of schools. Children need structure, socialization, and supervision when learning. Parents have worked hard to maintain learning under very difficult circumstances, but many have jobs that make the current arrangement very hard and many students need in-person to learn the best they can. For others, home education has proven to work very well. 

This week, the Senate introduced legislation stating the Governor cannot use executive orders to close schools – that power would be in the hands of each individual district. There is mounting evidence that schools pose minimal risk in spreading the coronavirus, including a Reuters report that studied 191 countries found no clear link between school reopenings and coronavirus surges.

We must think of the children and the long-term effects that are sure to come from being out of school for nearly a year now.  It was found that the longer schools are closed, the more children suffer from extensive learning losses with long term negative impacts, including future income and health.  Minnesota should not be contributing to those numbers; we should be doing anything we can to keep our children moving forward.

Allowing school districts and businesses to safely make their own decisions is clearly the way to proceed. Schools and businesses in Big Lake operate much differently than those in Minneapolis.  

Vaccines are beginning to roll out although much slower than other states.  I absolutely support continuing Minnesota’s current law of vaccinations as a personal individual choice, as opposed to a government or employment mandate. Doctors have reported that so far there are only 30 documented cases globally of a COVID relapse and that our vaccines also protect against new strains of COVID. 

I am in my office in Saint Paul nearly every day. I am glad to meet in-person, by phone or zoom, or email me your comments.