School districts around the state are sorting through the Governor’s Safe Learning Plan and checking the COVID cases within their own counties to determine whether their schools will begin with in-person classes, distance learning, or a combination approach.
In the Twin cities, both Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts have announced their plans to begin the school year with distance learning only.
But state officials say the decision is more complicated than just looking at county case numbers.
School leaders must consider whether their buildings can accommodate social distancing; what it takes to do the constant cleaning of public spaces and how to limit high traffic areas.
It’s a tricky calculation, as leader work to balance all the factors, while prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff.
“The other important step is to evaluate whether or not schools can actually meet the MN Department of Health and Department of Education requirements for the recommended learning model. If they can be in-person, based on the health data in their county, they also have to be able to still account for the ability to physically distance students and staff, cleaning regiments, and limiting non-essential adults.” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan speaking a recent statewide radio show hosted by Northern Community Radio. “
“So individual districts and schools has to look at each school and each school community.” She said.
The state’s 21-page “safe learning plan” is posted on the Minnesota Department of Education website.
State government and health officials continue to emphasize this point: when people comply with the mask mandate and keep up their social distancing practices… those efforts help keep businesses and schools open.