MINNESOTA, USA — Following the Walz Administration's guidance, a number of metro area public schools are laying out their plans for a return to in-person learning for elementary students in January and February.
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), and Anoka-Hennepin Schools (AHS) all announced they would take a phased re-entry approach to resuming in-person learning for pre-kindergarten thru grade five learners, in which some groups of students would return before others.
According to a release put out by Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff, he will recommend to the school board that MPS allow pre-kindergarten thru grade two to return to classrooms starting the week of Feb. 8, while grades three thru five will return the week of Feb. 22, with staff returning Feb. 1.
"My recommendation to the Board of Education at our regular board meeting next Tuesday will be that we offer elementary families two options: to remain in distance learning or to return to in-person classroom instruction five days per week," Graff said.
However, Graff maintained that this would all be a wait-and-see approach.
"We did not come to this decision lightly and it is not set in stone. If things take a turn for the worse, we will reassess," said Graff.
Meanwhile, St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard issued a statement saying his district would also adhere to a phased re-entry approach, with pre-kindergarten thru grade two returning on Feb. 1, and grades three thru five returning weeks later on Feb. 16.
"Governor Walz announced new guidelines that will allow elementary schools to start welcoming students and staff back as soon as Monday, January 18. This is good news, and we are updating our plans to begin in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible," Gothard said in a release.
The state's largest district, Anoka-Hennepin Schools, is planning a return for kindergarten thru grade two on Jan. 19, while grades three thru five are to return on Feb. 1.
All schools are offering resources for parents who want to maintain a balance of distance versus in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for parents of students enrolled in special programs.
For more information, we encourage readers to visit the websites and resources available for your local school district.
For districts mentioned in this article, those are linked below.