Article written by Connie Knipe
Image from Governor Walz’s learning plan announcement courtesy of Mn.gov
Last Thursday, Governor Tim Walz announced his K-12 “Safe Learning Plan” for re-opening public schools across the state of Minnesota. The plan authorizes each school district to choose what learning model schools will follow as COVID-19 continues to spread around the nation.
Re-opening schools may take the forms of in-person classes, distance learning online, or a hybrid between the two and will allow a great deal of flexibility for the unique situations faces by local areas. The localized planning relies on local viral coronavirus data.
“Not all schools look the same,” said Walz. “Not all parts of our state look the same and we need to take those considerations in.”
Although many families voiced concern of sending their children back to school this fall amidst the pandemic, Walz tried to reassure them that the state is doing everything it can to keep family’s safe.
“To [the] parents, my pledge to you is to surround and have the best people, the best minds [and] the best data to make sure that those localized decisions are being driven in the best interest of your child,” said Walz.
Once the information is received, the Department of Health and Education will partner with school districts to help decide which route is best for them. It’s not just the school district that can decide on how students should attend school. In order to accommodate everyone’s situations, both students and faculty may also choose whether they work online or in-person.
No matter what method is used, the state continues to emphasize its number one goal: to prioritize the safety of students and staff.
“We know how important this decision is,” said Walz. “We know how included you as parents must be in this and we know that you are counting on us – both us as a state, […] as neighbors in your school districts and in your school boards – to take care of your children and do the right thing for them.”
Schools are continuing to modify their plans as COVID-19 surges throughout the country and, for Walz and the state of Minnesota, one thing remains clear: “This is going to be a first day of school unlike anyone that we’ve seen.”
School’s in the state will be given a supply of masks and even though not required, the state highly recommends guidelines such as six-foot of social distancing to be followed in the classroom. All of the reopening recommendations and guidelines can be found on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response website along with the full 21-page Safe learning Plan document.