The recent outbreak and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted a great deal of media attention and questions and concerns on the impact it will have on schools.
Gov. Tim Walz has now ordered all schools to remain closed until Monday, May 4. Educators should begin implementing distance learning plans that have been developed in the past few days.
What does this mean for educators and students?
The governor and Minnesota Department of Education have provided the following guidance:
- During the distance learning period, public school buildings and facilities must be closed for typical in-school instruction.
- During the distance learning period, all public schools must provide continuous education based on the distance learning plans developed during the closure period.
- Staff will report to their respective school buildings on May 1 to plan and prepare for students’ return to school buildings upon the end of the distance learning period, although the commissioner of education may extend the distance learning period if the health and safety of students and staff require it.
- For the period of March 30-April 30, schools may count the number of days originally scheduled as instructional days. Additionally, students participating in distance learning may be reported in attendance and membership for their originally scheduled days and hours.
- Schools are expected to provide meals to their students during this time.
- Minnesota will apply for the federal waiver of assessment requirements. “Consistent with the current federal waiver opportunity and to protect students’ health and safety, Minnesota is cancelling its statewide assessments for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.”
Read more in the governor's Executive Order.
Understandably, many educators have concerns about how to best ensure the health and safety of their students, themselves and their communities. We also know there are questions about the impacts of school closings on their pay and work obligations.
The FAQs below seek to address these questions based on our best knowledge right now (more to come soon):