Minnesota education commissioner lays out back-to-school options

Jay Kolls
Updated: July 30, 2020 10:17 PM
Created: July 30, 2020 08:44 PM

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the goal of Gov. Tim Walz's back-to-school plan is to keep students and staff safe and give local school districts flexibility to meet individual needs.

For example, Hennepin County has multiple school districts within the county, but Ricker said each district will be able to carve out either distance learning, in-school learning, or a combination of the two, even though they will share the same number of COVID-19 cases within the county.

"And, it may have to do with the age of their buildings," Ricker said. "It could also have something to do with their construction cycle or even their level of staffing, but each district, along with guidance from health experts, will set their own learning model."

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Ricker said the same will apply to school buildings, within respective school districts, if there happens to be an outbreak of COVID cases in an individual school.

"If a building has an outbreak of cases, the district can change things for that individual school," Ricker said. "Then, the district may have one treatment for one building to make sure they contain the virus and perhaps create a more restrictive learning environment."

Ricker said she expects school districts will notify parents about which learning model they have chosen somewhere between a week to 14 days before the first day of school for each respective school district.

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