Gov. Tim Walz releases Safe Learning Plan for Minnesota schools
The plan allows for school districts to decide on one of three models; in-person, distance learning or a hybrid of the two.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota is taking a localized, data-driven approach to send K-12 students back to school this fall.
School districts will have the ultimate say in what that will look like.
“School districts and charter schools will be in one of three models; in-person, distance learning, or a hybrid-of the two,” said Lt. Gov. of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan. “This will all be based on local data of viral activity in their region.”
The state recommends that the first step to deciding what model a district should choose should be based on the number of positive cases in the county. For a school to fully reopen, the plan suggests that there be nine or fewer positive cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period. If the number of cases is higher in an area, schools are encouraged to reopen on a more limited basis.
“This is the starting point for the conversation,” said Minnesota Department of Health commissioner, Jan Malcolm. “This number does not by itself dictate what learning model a school district or a school will choose.”
Priority for in-person learning should be given to younger students as high school-aged kids have been found to be more at risk of spreading the virus than elementary-aged students.
In schools that are open, masks are required for all students and staff and will be provided by the state.
Even if a district develops an in-person model, students will always have the opportunity to learn from home.
“If your child has underlying health conditions, if there are extenuating circumstances where you feel that is not the appropriate way for your child to go back, they will be provided a learning opportunity that will allow you to distance learn,” said Gov. Tim Walz.
Teacher safety is also one of the major concerns of the plan. Teachers must be given the option to work remotely and the state will also be providing free and prioritized testing for educators.