Minnesota Governor Announce Schools Closed for Rest of Year
Governor Walz Announces Schools Closed for Rest of 2020 School Year
Calling the decision “heartbreaking,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that the state’s K-12 public schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. The governor made the announcement during his 2 p.m. briefing. Distance learning plans that districts have implemented across the state will continue, under the order.
“Thank you to students for doing this,” said Walz during the briefing. “You’re going to have a life experience none of us had.
“The closeness of the classes of 2020 will be closer than other classes before,” Walz continued.
The state’s schools first closed March 18. They were set to remain closed until at least May 4. However, Walz had left open the slight possibility of students returning to school. Now that will no longer be the case.
Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that had not yet ordered schools closed for the remainder of the academic year. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced the closure of schools for the year in an announcement April 16.
Experts in epidemiology say children can be infected with the novel coronavirus. But children tend to experience mild symptoms. However, children can spread the virus to parents or teachers, experts have stated.
Will Distance Learning Extend Into Fall?
Gov. Walz was asked at Thursday’s briefing whether distance learning could extend into next school year.
“This is the question we should keep asking,” said Walz. “I don’t know yet.”
The Minnesota Department of Education is preparing for that possibility, however. Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker noted that connecting students to each other will be at the center of any plan. There’s also concern about maintaining academic standards during the lengthy disruption.
Walz, a former school teacher, added that distance learning is “exposing strengths and weaknesses in the system.” Minnesota already had achievement gap disparities in rural and minority communities before the outbreak began.
The governor, who has a daughter who graduated high school and a middle school-aged son, also expressed sorrow for students who will miss out on in-person graduations.
“I am sorry for all of our students who will miss out on graduations, tournaments and end-of-year celebrations,” Walz said.