Gov. Walz Closes Minnesota Schools for Two Weeks to Plan for Coronavirus

The two-week period is for school officials and teachers to plan for long-term closures, distance learning.

DULUTH, Minn.- In the most intense step the State of Minnesota has taken in response to the Coronavirus, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order closing all schools in the state starting Wednesday, until March 27th.

This comes just two days after Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced all schools statewide would close through April 6th.

While parents prepare to cope with having their kids back home for two weeks, the Order does provide some relief for some parents.

The closure is temporary, to allow schools to make longer-term plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some parents said while it will take some work, they think it was inevitable.

“We were’t necessarily suprised with everything that’s been going on,” said Marissa Thiele. “It was of course shocking. It’s definitely going to be something to adjust to and hopefully thew community and that can get together and help each other out.”

According to Duluth Public Schools, the two week period starting Wednesday also allows teachers to plan distance learning, distribution of school meals, and continuation of essential services.

Students like Logan, Marissa’s son, feel electronics can keep them learning and connected with friends while home.

“If you have, like iPads or something your teacher could email you your work and you could do a little from there,” Logan said. “You can communicate with them, maybe if you have phone or parents’ phone, try to get their number before.”

The Executive Order does require schools to provide care for elementary-age children of healthcare professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days.

“Every child in Minnesota, and every effort will be made to give them the high quality education and focusing on the equity and access issues for every single one of them,” Gov. Walz said.

The Order also allows the continuation of mental health services, and requires schools to continue giving meals to students in need.

St, Louis County did respond to the Governor’s Executive Order, emphasizing that the closure of schools is proactive for planning and not being done as a public health prevention and control measure.

County officials add that their work force and service delivery may be impacted by school closures and recommendations for compromised individuals to isolate themselves.

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