St. Paul – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced that school districts will be granted minimal flexibility regarding reopening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Governor’s plan, a county would need to report fewer than 9 cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period in order for schools in that county to fully reopen with in-person classes. Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg) offered his reaction.
“This pandemic has brought many unforeseen challenges, but I believe allowing kids to go back to school would provide many families with necessary support,” said Rep. Miller. “Unfortunately, Governor Walz’s plan does not help families and kids return to normalcy. The Governor’s plan is a puzzling mess in which schools in some counties remain fully open while schools in other counties remain closed.”
The Department of Health will monitor school districts as they operate to ensure that schools do not become epicenters of COVID-19 spread. If a county has more than 50 cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 residents, then all schools in that county will only be permitted to offer online distance learning.
“This education plan will harm rural Minnesota,” said Rep. Miller. “Under the new guidelines, schools across an entire county are shut down if the cases of COVID-19 are too high in that county. However, I have many schools in my district which serve multiple counties. The Governor’s plan does not account for this, and that tells me that the Governor was not thinking of rural Minnesota when he crafted this plan.”
Additionally, Governor Walz’s plan requires distance learning to be made available to any student who requests it regardless of location or prevalence of COVID-19 in their community.
“Like most Minnesotans, I believe local control of education is best,” said Rep. Miller. “The education needs of Minneapolis are not the education needs of Montevideo, Benson, or Olivia. The schools of our communities should be able to make the choices that are right for them. Unfortunately, the education of our children will suffer because of Governor Walz’s authoritarian, misguided decision making.”