(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.
“First of all, let me give kudos to Gov. Walz, because I thought he was going to try closing all schools again and moving to distance learning. I’m glad he didn’t do that. He started his announcement talking about local control, but the more details that came out, the less it sounded like true local control,” said Senator Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton). “Local school districts and school boards in my district have been way ahead of the governor with their planning, so they should be supplied with the required metrics for local communities and left to make decisions on their own. Further, today’s announcement should have been given weeks ago, to allow more time for families and school districts to work on their main and contingency plans. This confusing matrix could complicate what should be a simple solution of local control.”
Schools are instructed to implement mask and social distancing standards for all in-person education; further measures are left up to the discretion of the district if they align with state recommendations.