Minnesota chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics backs in-person learning

The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) on Friday said it "strongly supports" guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding in-person schooling for the upcoming school year.

MNAAP said it believes the goal should be have students physically in schools as to not worsen Minnesota’s pre-existing opportunity gaps.

American Academy of Pediatrics ‘strongly’ supports students returning to schools in fall

"Schools provide much more than education," said MNAAP President Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz. "They are equipped to meet student’s social and developmental needs, and they are critical for students who need additional support and services. In-person learning is a goal that everyone should be working toward — with all decisions being made through both a safety and equity lens."

MNAAP added that schools should be supported in efforts to make re-entry as safe as possible for students and staff.

"We strongly urge lawmakers to provide additional funding for school districts to make safety changes necessary for in-person learning," Dr. Berkowitz said. "This funding should be provided in an equitable manner to all schools. Minnesota’s education system has long produced better outcomes and opportunities for white students than for students of color. Without equitable funding, the opportunity gaps our students face will widen further."

Education Minnesota survey: Majority of educators favor distance learning; official decision for school year expected July 30

The chapter added that it encourages discussion about how to protect those with special health care needs who are at a higher risk of infection, and said school plans may require adjustments as COVID-19 continues to change.

The Minnesota Department of Education and Gov. Tim Walz are set to announce the state’s plan for the upcoming school year on July 30.