ROCHESTER, Minn. - The school year has officially wrapped up for Minnesota schools, but what lies ahead for the fall?
The Minnesota Department of Education released a memo Monday, urging schools to have contingency plans for three different scenarios: returning to school and following CDC and Department of Health guidelines, implementing a distance learning model, or a hybrid of the two. The department intends to release guidelines later this week to help schools develop their plans.
The department says the situation is fluid and decisions may change, which is why it wants schools to be prepared for all three scenarios.
"There's a very good chance that we will see an uptick in the coronavirus in the fall and we don't know that it will be a surge but the point is, we don't know," says Minnesota Senator Carla Nelson. "There will hopefully be continued developments in therapies, treatments, testing and of course vaccines but that's not here yet so our schools need to be very nimble."
Senator Nelson is Chair of the Minnesota Senate Education Committee. She tells KIMT the legislature may need make adjustments to help schools be flexible, such as by possibly allowing classes to start before Labor Day, allowing more than 5 e-learning days during inclement weather, and allowing e-learning days for public health emergencies.
She also explains schools may need a grant to allow them flexibility to pull kids out of classrooms for periods of time if there is a surge in transmission, as well as a statewide subscription to a K-12 comprehensive virtual school aligned to Minnesota standards..