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Walz: Minnesota school districts to determine individual plans for fall return

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that state officials will work with individual school districts to determine how students should return to school in the fall.

The governor announced the "Safe Learning Plan" at a news conference on Thursday afternoon. The goal of the plan is for school districts and charter schools to decide on a learning model that best responds to the COVID-19 cases in their individual communities.

Walz said school districts and charter schools will determine which learning model they should start the school year with: in-person learning, distance learning or a hybrid model. This decision will be made with assistance for Departments of Health and Education officials, Walz said.

The learning model decision will be announced by the local school district, Walz said.

“As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years and a parent of a child in public schools, I am committed to providing a world-class education to our students while keeping them and their teachers safe,” Walz said in a news release. “With this approach, we are pairing the knowledge and data from our Departments of Health and Education with the expertise of our local school districts to make the best decisions for our students across the state.”

Walz said he is requiring school districts and charter schools to give families the option to choose distance learning no matter which learning model their school district decides to implement. Walz is also requiring districts to allow teachers and school employees to work remotely "to the extent possible."

The governor also announced $250 million in support to provide face coverings for all students, educators and staff, deploy a COVID-19 testing plan for educators and staff, cover operational costs and more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for classes to safely resume in the fall. These guidelines include implementing social distancing measures and face coverings for in-person learning, and making decisions based on the level of transmission within the community.

“The health and safety of our students, educators, school staff, and families are our number one priority,” Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said in a news release. “This localized approach that is centered on the data and informed by a school’s ability to follow all the public health requirements, will help school districts and charter schools navigate this uncertain school year."

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Nicole Valinote

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