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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Some school leaders in scramble mode as they prepare for safe return to classroom

"It's been nonstop planning since then – in planning for all different sorts of scenarios," said Josh Collins, Roseville Area School District Communications Director

ST PAUL, Minn. — School in the age of COVID-19 has been a learning curve for everyone.

"There's been challenge after challenge," said Josh Collins, Roseville Area School District Communications Director.

Other school districts say they, too, are being tested, switching from in-person to hybrid to remote learning many times this past year. And now, new guidelines from Gov. Tim Walz means kids can finally all go back to class, cleared to return to school starting Monday.

"These educators want to be with their students more than anybody," said Walz. "And we owe it to them to make sure they do it safely."

But some schools say it’s not that easy. Roseville is one district that has already had elementary schools open for several weeks, and had planned to have older kids return next month. Now, it’s deciding if it can do it sooner.

"We are having conversations to see if it’s feasible to advance that," said Collins. "But we’ve also already communicated to our families and many of them have made plans."

Minneapolis schools sent an email Wednesday night about making plans to safely bring back kids at all level, saying it’s been working toward that goal for months. For many that means finding ways to keep students six feet apart, using cohorts to make class sizes smaller and getting teachers and staff vaccines, all while closely watching case numbers that constantly change.

"It's been nonstop planning since then – in planning for all different sorts of scenarios," said Collins.

And that planning won’t be done anytime soon. Still not answered are how schools will handle things outside of class, including events like proms and graduations.

The state's guidelines are not mandatory, meaning each district can choose how and when to reopen.

And families concerned about the risks can still choose distance learning.