Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minnesota sticks with its school plans as pressure to reopen grows


December 14, 2020

ERIN SCHAFF, New York Times

An empty classroom at an elementary school in Baltimore after closing during the coronavirus pandemic, April 14, 2020. Across the U.S., some large school districts have attempted to reopen, with mixed success.

Minnesota is staying the course with its guidelines for school opening and closing decisions during the pandemic, even as political pressure to reopen schools intensifies and some large districts elsewhere in the U.S. make plans to return students to classrooms.

Five months after the state released its "Safe Learning Plan," state officials have no immediate plans to update the metrics schools have used this fall to determine when they must shift in and out of in-person, hybrid or distance learning. Rising spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and widespread staffing shortages have sent more than half of the state's public districts and charter schools into full-time distance learning. And under the existing guidelines, which focus on county virus data as well as how much the virus is spreading within cities and school buildings, there's little indication that students could be back to schools anytime soon.

State officials, however, remain confident that the guidelines they developed over the summer are still the right plan for this stage of the pandemic. Deputy Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said the "concrete set of parameters" outlined in the state's guidance for schools have worked through the fall.


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