ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday ordered the temporary shutdown of public schools to allow administrators and teachers to make plans to combat COVID-19 as new cases continue to grow.
Schools will be closed to kindergarten through 12th-grade students by Wednesday and will remain shut down through March 27.
Counties with cases: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Stearns, Waseca, Washington, Wright
"My top priority as Governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I'm especially focused on the safety of our children. I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids, regardless of what's to come," Walz said.
On Saturday, state health officials said the number of cases of the new coronavirus in Minnesota had risen to 35, up 14 from Saturday. Among the new cases was a person in their 30s in Renville County, in southwestern Minnesota.
“There is nothing more important than the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This decision was made with children and families in mind, as well as our educators, to best support our schools and educational system in the weeks and months ahead and make sure that we have a plan in place for our kids who rely on school for meals and other critical needs.”