Minneapolis, St. Paul school districts to begin upcoming year with distance learning

The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts announced Thursday they will start the upcoming school year with distance learning.

The announcements came on the same day Gov. Tim Walz and state leaders announced guidance for the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walz to leave decision on upcoming school year to school districts, with guidance from state officials

Minneapolis Public Schools said students won’t report to classrooms and will instead receive instruction from their teachers through computers and other online devices.

Superintendent Ed Graff said he recognizes it presents challenges for many but safety is the district’s priority and, based on feedback from families and staff, they decided it was the right move.

More information is expected to be provided on Aug. 4.

Meanwhile, St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard said he appreciated the state’s support and leadership but added that there are still many unknowns amid the pandemic.

Gothard cited safety concerns as the main reason for beginning the school year with distance learning.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter came out in support of SPPS’s decision, saying "… the health of our St. Paul children, families, teachers, and school workers remains our top priority amid the ongoing uncertainty of this pandemic."

More information is expected to be released at next week’s Committee of the Board meeting, SPPS said.