Minnesota Lays Out School Reopening Plan

DULUTH, Minn.– K-12 schools in Minnesota wrapped up their distance learning for the spring. But there still is uncertainty about what schools should do in the fall amid the pandemic.

Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Department of Education have started laying out initial plans to schools for the fall.

“Ultimately, we know that schools and families are anxious to know which scenario we will be in this fall and we just don’t know yet,” said Dr. Heather Mueller, Deputy Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Education.

The state has three contingency plans for schools to follow this fall.

The options include in-person learning for all students, distance learning only, or a hybrid of the two with strict social distancing and capacity limits.

Education leaders say they have not decided on a final plan yet, instead waiting until late July to give schools time to prepare.

Whatever option is chosen, they always want to keep student safety a top priority.

“At the end of the day it is important that our students feel like their school community, whether they are interacting with that community in person or in a hybrid or distance learning model is a safe and welcoming place for them to learn and grow,” said Mueller.

Duluth Superintendent Bill Gronseth says they were expecting the framework laid out by the state. The school district set up groups in areas of academics, transportation, and food service as they work to establish policies to meet state guidelines in all three potential scenarios.

With only three days to prepare for distance learning this spring, Gronseth says now they have time to figure out the best way to teach their students while keeping them safe.

“This has given us more time to reflect on how things went,” said Gronseth. “We gathered information from families or staff and we’re taking what we learned from that to prepare for the fall.”

Gronseth says the district will announce plans for fulfilling all three scenarios. That decision will also come in late July.

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