ST. PAUL – Gov. Tim Walz recently announced the state will give school districts limited local control to find a balance of in-person, distance, or hybrid learning, for the new school year.
While school districts have some flexibility, Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said their plans must meet state requirements for certain safety measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing. A range of recommendations – from in-person learning to distance learning for some or all students – has been issued by the state based on 14-day county COVID-19 case rates.
Anderson’s House District 12B encompasses portions of Stearns, Douglas and Pope counties. At the start of this week, all three counties were reported to have case rates of 10-20 per 10,000 people. According to the state’s matrix, school districts in each of those counties would be advised to conduct in-person learning at elementary schools and use an in-person/distance learning hybrid for secondary schools.
“Safety needs to remain at the forefront, with accommodations provided to protect children and school staff,” Anderson said. “At the same time, depriving our youth of relationship-building experiences and lessons best learned in the in-person environment could put today’s youngest learners at a huge disadvantage in the future. My top priority is to safely get as many children back to school as possible so we can help them not only achieve academically, but to learn interaction and other life skills that are much more difficult to teach at home.”