Alternative education options being explored by some following Walz's school announcement

Crystal Bui
Updated: July 30, 2020 05:24 PM
Created: July 30, 2020 05:02 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic is hard on everyone, but for students, this can be an especially confusing time.

“As school approaches, we become more worried, especially as cold/flu season approaches, we become more worried ... 'Okay, how do we keep our families safe? How do we keep them learning?'” said Aza Donnelly, with the Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance.

With Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement on Thursday, there are questions about alternative learning options if parents don't approve of the plan their district decides on. There are alternative educational opportunities, like home-schooling, that may appeal to some.

“If your child is having a lot of anxiety that day and school is just not going to happen, you can take the day to just relax,” said Donnelly.

Donnelly said families can opt-in or out of homeschooling at any time, though being in communication with school districts is vital.

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

“I think they should consider why they would want to home school, what is the value for them and their child, especially during this time?” said Donnelly.

Public charter schools can provide specialized learning opportunities, and some of them are still taking applications.

“The board of our school is composed by teachers, parents and community members, and so there's much more opportunity for people to be involved in setting the direction of the school at the parent and the school level,” said Eugene Piccolo, executive director for the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools. “Charter public schools are public schools of choice, and that they are available to any student in the state of Minnesota. And that there's information on our association's website that lists all public charter schools, all 169 that operate across the state.”

It's also important to note, the open enrollment period for the Department of Education closed in January — that was even before the pandemic came into full swing. Officials haven't announced any plans right now to extend that enrollment period.

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