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Minnesota schools look at staff shortages, rather than COVID infections, in deciding school closures

The state's 10 largest districts try different approaches to masking and remote learning


January 24, 2022

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Minneapolis Public Schools moved into distance learning after a rash of educator absences left schools with little staff. The state's 10 largest districts differ on their masking and remote learning policies.

A COVID surge fueled by the emergence of the highly transmissible although less lethal omicron variant in early January led three of the state's largest districts to shift into remote learning.

Officials in Minneapolis, Osseo and Rochester cited educator absences as everyone from teachers to bus drivers either fell ill or had to care for sick family members.

But several other districts largely have kept classrooms open. A survey of isolation, masking and remote-learning policies across the state's largest districts demonstrates how school decision-makers across Minnesota are approaching a reality in which staffing shortages, rather than COVID-19 infections, are an increasingly important factor in whether they can offer in-person instruction.


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