STEWARTVILLE, Minn. - Parents are wondering what pandemic learning will look like for kids in the fall. Top Minnesota leaders revealed there will be flexibility with the new school year.
Depending on coronavirus numbers, school districts can implement in-person, distance or hybrid learning. Rochester Public Schools is waiting until August to share details about what the school year will look like. One Stewartville superintendent and a parent talk about their hopes moving forward.
Rith Heang has two kids in public schools.
"I think it's better for them to just be in school in general just so they can socialize with all their friends, they shouldn't have to worry about all this COVID stuff," Heang said.
He's eager for his kids to head back to class.
"I'm just not as worried about the pandemic just because the kids are young enough where they can beat the flu, whatever it is," Heang said.
Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a plan to reopen schools that gives districts some flexibility to toggle between in-person and online learning. For every 10,000 residents in a particular county - if there are fewer than 10 cases of COVID-19 - a district can implement in-person learning.
If there are more than 10 cases and fewer than 20 for every 10,000 people, elementary school students can return to school but older children will have a combination of in-person and online learning.
"It has to be a collective effort from the community to make a decision to keep our infection rate as low as possible," Selfors said.
Selfors is eager for students to return.
"As students, they are social beings, those connections with their peers and their teachers are so important," Selfors said.
Selfors says the District will watch and wait for now. If distance-learning is required, she says structure must be improved.
"Video instruction or archived video instruction is not as effective as live instruction," Selfors said. "That's something we are looking to enhance."
Clearly going forward - normal is going to be entirely different.
Gov. Tim Walz says the numbers are just a starting point. Schools can implement more restrictions if they want to. Walz originally earmarked 180 million in federal funds to help districts improve distance learning over the summer. He announced an additional 250 million in federal funds to - among other things - provide face coverings for every student and staff member and more cleaning supplies.