Private school students back in school, union pushes for caution as public schools ready to open

Passing time in the hallways at DeLaSalle Catholic High School in Minneapolis look a little different this school year.

Social distance markers lines are on the floors with arrows reminding students which side of the hallway to stay on.

"Our supervision is really diligent right now to make sure these practices are established right away, because it’s a new way of life for students, it’s a culture," said DeLaSalle President Bryan Bass.

Where students eat lunch has been modified.

"We have two outdoor areas and an indoor option and we’ve converted one of our gymnasiums into a cafeteria space as well, so students can spread out and maintain distancing," he added.

Class sizes look very different as well.

"It’s definitely a lot smaller classes, I think in some of my classes they only had eight or nine kids, five in some classes," said Chelsea, a senior student.

Students are back in school in person, earning in a hybrid model.

Of the 720 9-12th graders, 120 have chosen to only distance-learn, the rest have been split into two groups the first group comes on Monday Tuesday each week, the second group on Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesdays, everybody is learning from home.

"I kind of like that they give us a break so we can be at home for some part of the week and be at school for some for the week," Chelsea said.

While this private school is adjusting to its new normal, the state’s largest teachers union, Education Minnesota, is pushing for caution as public schools set to open over the next two weeks, stating safety and race matter.

"It is not equitable to only look at the county data when communities of color are affected as such high levels," said Osseo Area Schools Teacher Maria Higueros-Canny.

The union is pushing public school districts to slow the start of the school year, saying learning safely is the goal.

"Re-opening the buildings in a politicized pandemic, in a national racial reckoning, is the most difficult thing any of us in education has ever done. If it takes more time, fine, take the time," said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht.