UPDATE AT 5 P.M. ON JULY 31: The Anoka-Hennepin School District announced late Friday afternoon that they will use a hybrid model for fall. Students in grades K-12 will go to school two days a week and do distance learning three days a week. Parents will be notified which day their child will be in school by Friday, August 14. All parents can opt to have their child do full-time distance learning. For more details, click here.
The "Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21" for Minnesota’s public schools gives school districts and charter schools a localized, data driven approach to choosing how the school year will look. And the prevalence of new COVID-19 cases in each county across the state will be key.
“We know how important this decision is,” said Governor Tim Walz. “We know how included, you as parents must be in this."
When the Governor announced the Safe Learning Plan on Thursday, school officials at the Anoka-Hennepin Schools listened closely.
“Now that we’ve got some guidance we’re going to step forward a little bit more and address some of the safety concerns that have come up,” said Dr. David Law, superintendent of the Anoka-Hennepin School District. “As well as this tiered approach for elementary, maybe in person and secondary, maybe not. That’s a new wrinkle for us.”
School Districts will start the school year in one of three models: in-person, distance learning, or a hybrid model. In-person and Hybrid Learning would require face masks and a routine of hygiene practices.
Which learning model schools decide to start with will be based on health data, on the number of new cases of COVID-19, over a 14-day period, within each county in the state.
“I know it will be really frustrating for our parents, we’ve never had that type of decision-making before,” Dr. Law said. “But, if it’s county based, it’s county based.”
Minnesota Stay Safe Recommendations policy options based on 14-day case rate range:
0-9 new cases per 10,000 people by the date of specimen collection (when a person got tested) over 14 days, in-person learning for all students.
10-19 new cases: in-person learning for elementary students, and hybrid learning for Middle/high school hybrid.
20-29 new cases: hybrid learning for all students.
30-49 new cases: elementary students hybrid learning, and distance learning for secondary students.
Above 50 new cases: distance learning for all students.
For more information on Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21 School Year, visit www.mn.gov/COVID19/safelearning
“If we looked at the last two weeks’ data we would have one scenario in Hennepin County and another in Anoka County,” said Law. It’s a fluid situation and could change over the next five weeks before school starts.
Some teachers already have concerns over in-person learning and District officials are addressing them.
“We’ve been already working with our staff on which staff members can’t come back because of some medical reasons, and so we’ll try to look at how we can accommodate those based on federal guidelines for COVID,” said Law.
“It’s going to be a first day of school unlike any we’ve seen,” said Governor Walz.