Minneapolis Public Schools will shift back to distance learning next week over concerns of disruptions related to the impending verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

The district said Friday that all grade levels will move to distance learning for three days, beginning Wednesday. The move will come just one or two days after some Minneapolis middle school students are scheduled to return to school buildings for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago. High school students in the district returned to school buildings earlier in April, and elementary schools began reopening in February.

In a message to families, Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff said the decision was made after the district consulted with Hennepin County sources. Closing statements in the trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, are scheduled for Monday, and then the jury will begin its deliberations.

The district will cancel all school events from Wednesday to Friday, as well as before- and after-school child care programs. It will continue to provide meals for pickup throughout the week.

Graff said teachers across the district will be providing students with opportunities to process and discuss issues raised by the trial, as well as the recent deadly police shooting in Brooklyn Center of Daunte Wright, a former Minneapolis Public Schools student. Graff added that the district's plans may shift depending on what's happening in the community.

"These plans are made based on what we know today," he wrote. "Should trial activities change, we will re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible."

Erin Golden • 612-673-4790