MINNEAPOLIS — After much deliberation resulting in a 6-2 vote, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) leaders approved a two-phase plan bringing K-5 students back into the classroom, while also giving parents the option to keep their kids in distance learning.
"I believe families ought to have these options for their children," said MPS Board Chair Kim Ellison.
"Other children need more attention, particularly those who aren't checking in online and those with IEP's, our students receiving special education services," said Jenny Arneson, MPS Board Vice Chair.
Starting Feb. 1, teachers will return to the classroom with students coming back on the Feb. 8.
Middle and high school students will remain in distance learning to reduce the number of people in buildings at one time.
"From the very beginning we've had to decide how to best balance academic and health risk, and no matter what we do we're giving something up," said Arneson.
While some public school leaders across the state are grappling with whether or not to return to the classroom, many private school systems across the state have been in class for months now. Some teachers say with great success, taking extra precautions like daily symptom screenings and requiring masks for all.
"At the end of the day I believe the local school board should follow the guidance offered by the state and public health officials, all of whom want us to open," said Arneson.
Minneapolis school leaders say they plan to work hand in hand with health officials making the safety of both students and staff a priority.
"This has been a really difficult year full of uncertainty and risk, and there have not been any easy decisions at any point," said Arneson.