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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that the state’s “Stay at Home” order will expire on Monday, May 18th. Beginning Monday, retail stores, malls, and other main street businesses can reopen if they have a safety plan put in place that will help keep employees and customers safe. These stores will be allowed to operate at no more than 50 percent occupancy. Meanwhile, restaurants, bars, salons, and gyms remain closed for the time being.

walz

Graphic from Governor's Office

This announcement is good news for thousands of small business owners across Minnesota that have been waiting to safely reopen to serve customers and their communities. Thank you to every Minnesotan that contacted Governor Walz. Because of your efforts, Minnesota is slowly starting to reopen.

Sadly, many restaurants, salons, and other businesses will unfairly have to wait a few more weeks to reopen. Ultimately, any business that can safely reopen should be allowed to do so. Our state cannot afford to wait any longer

During his remarks Wednesday evening, Governor Walz said that the current plan is for bars, restaurants, salons, and gyms to reopen on June 1st, but we’ll have to wait and see if that comes to fruition.

If you are a business owner, I encourage you to visit this website to learn more about ways to reopen: https://bit.ly/2Z0WgEu

Governor Walz Cancels Graduation Ceremonies

I was disappointed to learn about the Walz administration’s announcement last week that bans graduation ceremonies statewide, regardless of class size or space available for the ceremony. Many school districts around the state had spent weeks putting together creative plans that would have allowed them to hold ceremonies while honoring social distancing guidelines.

Now, those plans are being put on hold.

I heard from many of you about this, so I signed onto a letter to the Department of Education asking that they rescind these guidelines. You can read that letter here.

Late last night, one of our House Republican education leads, Rep. Ron Kresha, confirmed that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has not and will not create a policy to levy a financial penalty against schools holding graduation ceremonies in person.

Despite this uncertain time, I wish our 2020 graduates all the best!

Hybrid Summer Education Program

On Thursday, Governor Walz signed an executive order that authorizes and directs the Commissioner of Education to give public and charter schools the option to offer summer learning through a hybrid model of distance learning and in-school learning.

I am pleased that the Minnesota Department of Education recognizes the need to provide additional educational opportunities for students this summer due to loss of learning that may have occurred while schools have been closed.

Offering districts and charters the opportunity to design plans to help students catch up is essential because different learning styles impact students in different ways. This hybrid approach must emphasize in-person, teacher-student interaction daily. I know our school leaders will provide for safe and healthy environments because they know their responsibility is to educate all our children.

Staying in Touch

Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a good weekend,

Sondra