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County Health Data to Determine School Reopening Models

August 2, 2020

Governor Tim Walz shared on Thursday a decision matrix school districts will use to determine the method in which Minnesota schools educate K-12 students in the fall. Leaders with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said the “Safe Learning Plan” is localized and data driven, allowing for flexibility based on county-level health data. MNAAP was asked to offer input on the plans and provided that to state leaders.

Thresholds set by the number of new cases per 10,000 residents in a county over a two-week period would determine if a school is fully open, operating in a hybrid model, or fully online. Students who are not able to attend in-person for health or personal reasons would be able to exercise a distance learning option with support from their district.

Prior to the governor’s announcement, MNAAP released a chapter statement on school re-opening, encouraging a goal of having students physically present in school in a manner that does not worsen Minnesota’s pre-existing opportunity gaps. MDE leaders said they have identified funding available to support students with issues such as lack of Internet access or digital devices.

MNAAP President Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, was interviewed by WCCO-TV on Sunday about the chapter statement about plans to reopen schools, and KSTP also ran a story about the MNAAP statement on reopening schools.

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