5 months to the day of the first Covid-19 death in the United States, Governor. Tim Walz introduced his “Safe Learning Plan.” in which he will allow individual school districts to decide how they want to approach the 2020 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic based on individual county Covid-19 data and consultations. Districts will work with the state Health and Education departments to determine whether to use in-person instruction, online learning or a hybrid model.
School district education would be in-person, distance learning or a hybrid based on the level of school opening would be based on the number of cases per 10,000 population over the past 14 days.
Governor Walz acknowledged the responsibility and the hundreds of hours devoted by many different people in making this decision. Walz also said that his top priority was the safety of students and teachers during their time spent at school campuses. He also pledged that the state of Minnesota would give the tools needed to make schools safe such as testing and PPE.
Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan spoke during the conference and said that distance learning was not as effective as in-person education. She said that school districts will still have the same three options for education: in-person, distance learning or a hybrid of the two.
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioners, Jan Malcolm also spoke during the press conference to explain the plan. The plan and actions will be evidenced-based. She also said that younger students will receive the priority for in-person learning.
Malcolm then went to say that the process will be rich in consultation between education, health care and elected officials. While the decision will be up to districts, the state will provide some guidance.
Governor Walz said during his press conference that last week’s mask-wearing executive order would be a big part of his “back to school” plan. Earlier in the summer, state officials directed school districts to make a plan that would include an in-person, hybrid and distance learning model.