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THREE OPTIONS: Rochester schools prepare for fall semester

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Kellogg Middle School

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) - Many parents in Rochester say they hope their kids are able to return to school this fall.

Rochester Public Schools' superintendent shares their desire but is waiting for the week of July 27th and the governor's recommendation.

It could mean more distance learning for your child.

"It was pretty miserable. I'm trying to work from home and they're doing school from home," said Nicole de Vera, who has three children entering middle school. "It made it difficult because I couldn't monitor how they were doing. I don't know how much got done."

Yet her kids might have another semester of distance learning. In anticipation of Governor Walz' recommendations later this month, Rochester Public Schools is preparing for three different scenarios.

"Even though it's a lot of work, I think it was a great idea to have districts have all three models ready to go," said Superintendent Michael Muñoz of Rochester Public Schools.

The schools may use all three options: in-person learning, distance learning and a hybrid version of the two.

"Of course I'd prefer to have in person and I understand why we can't have in person if we can't," said de Vera.

Longfellow Elementary follows a year-round school calendar. The students will spend two days at home and two days at school, at least for the first two weeks.

"They felt they would really like to try that hybrid model so we were comfortable with them doing that," said Muñoz.

However, the hybrid model does not appeal to everyone.

"If we're distancing than we're distancing. If we're not, then we're not," said de Vera, who prefers either in-person or distance learning.

Time away from school is causing more than just learning loss for the kids.

"I think they're really missing that social aspect," said the mom of three.

Part of socializing comes from sports and extracurricular activities, which are still up in the air for the fall.

"At the high schools, they have already that this summer training for next fall season," Muñoz said. "We'll just wait to see as we get closer to the start of the school year."

No matter how school looks in September, he is confident RPS is ready to tackle the plan.

"I'm hoping we can get back in person but if we can't, we'll implement whatever model we need to," said the superintendent.

A task force of more than community members is helping make the three possible plans for this fall semester. It aims to have a draft ready for parents and school staff to provide feedback.

Alex Tejada

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