All MN middle, high schools can open Monday under new COVID guidance – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

Middle and high schools in Minnesota will be allowed to fully reopen as early as Monday under new guidance from Gov. Tim Walz, even if their county coronavirus case rates are high.

“It’s time to get our kids back in school, and we can do that now safely,” Walz said at noon Wednesday.

Under updated guidance published Wednesday, secondary schools can operate at either full or partial capacity as long as they follow additional strategies for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

Those measures include encouraging students to get tested for the virus every two weeks and a recommendation that schools maintain six feet of distance between secondary students, whenever possible; that’s more than the three feet expected in elementary schools.

Walz said Wednesday that he “expects” all school districts to offer some level of in-person learning by March 8, putting pressure on laggards like Minneapolis and St. Paul, where his son is in distance learning.

“It is not a mandate on them. It gives them the tools,” Walz told reporters. “… We know we need to get our kids back in school. The only question is how do you do so safely. And we trust our local partners to figure out how to do that.”

MAJOR DECLINES IN STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, ACHIEVEMENT

Schools in Minnesota and across the country have reported major declines in student engagement and achievement during distance learning.

The new guidance does not change the requirement that Minnesota schools continue making distance learning an option for students this school
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