Parents question one size impact of distance learning, activities in Anoka-Hennepin School District

As the fall 2020 school year heads into November, some students in the state’s largest school district will be staying home.

Higher COVID-19 counts in the Anoka-Hennepin School District means distance learning for middle and high schoolers, which means all their activities and athletics are put on hold through early December.

"I don’t think taking those activities away from kids is going to help them be healthy," said Roxie Kirchoff, the parent of two high school athletes.

She says with five large high schools in five large communities, it shouldn’t be a one size fits all.

Anoka-Hennepin to begin school year with hybrid learning model.

"The choice that we want back is the opportunity to sign a waiver that says our family is OK," she said. " We’re willing to let our child participate in the activities, so don’t take those away."

State lawmakers are getting involved too.

"The decision to have sports or not have sport should not be an all or nothing question," said Sen. Jim Abeler, (R) Anoka. "Local school districts should be allowed to decide on a sport by sport, activity by activity basis which ones can continue independent of the county numbers about COVID.

"When it’s an all or nothing kind of approach, all of a sudden a real purpose of why I want to belong and be integrated within my school environment is taken away from me and then there’s a void in the kid’s life, and how is that void being fulfilled," asked Sen. John Hoffman, of Champlin.

Anoka-Hennepin School District Superintendent David Law says they are following state guidelines, but he wants more clarification.
He says some school districts with higher COVID-19 counts are still doing in-person learning and activities are continuing.

Later on Monday night, the board approved and passed a motion that will allow for activities in the district to continue for now pending more guidance.