MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff held a virtual news conference Wednesday to discuss the school district's decision to temporarily move students to online learning.
He said students will start online learning on Friday, Jan. 14, and return to in-person learning Monday, Jan. 31. Graff says a large reason driving the move is the "ebb and flow" of staff due to COVID-19, and the difficulty the district is having finding staff to fill in.
"We've reached our tipping point," Graff said. "And so as much as we did not want to move to this space, this is where we are. I just greatly appreciate all of our staff for their commitment to our students during this difficult time, and the work that they've been doing to try and maintain in-person learning for our students as much as possible."
Graff said there were approximately 400 teachers out on Tuesday and Wednesday, and of those absences, he says only about 45% were able to be filled. He said the district usually sees a rate of absences around 200 in a typical year at this time.
"We're just at a point where it's not sustainable," Graff said.
In a statement sent to families Wednesday, the district said that the schools will still be open for online learning for those who can't stay at home.
"Bus transportation will continue and meals will be available. Online learning at schools will take place under the supervision of available school staff, though not necessarily in regular classrooms, so students should bring supplies such as headphones if possible," the statement read.
Graff says teachers and administrators will attempt to keep class and student schedules as normal as possible throughout online learning.
"We are really trying to create the same type of schedule for our learners, for our staff, so that online learning experience for students who are accessing it at home will have that same schedule that we try to create in our school day," Graff said.
He added, "We definitely understand the ripple effect of this and what it does to our kids, their families, our communities," Graff said.
For more information about MPS' pending shift to online learning, visit the district's website, or contact your child's school.
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