It remains to be seen how much weight Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and state officials will give to the CDC’s evolving guidance on opening schools. The governor is expected to make an announcement Thursday.
In a statement Friday, state Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said CDC guidance is one of several factors officials will consider moving forward.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle said there should not be a one-size-fits-all decision regarding moving forward with in-person classes, online learning or some combination of the two.
Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, who chairs the Senate education policy and finance committee, said: “Everyone wants the children to be back in school, but it has to be safely.”
While Nelson said she’s not pushing to send every child back into their classroom, she also doesn’t want Walz deciding the issue unilaterally. Parents, teachers and school district officials — the people “on the ground” — should decide for themselves, she said.
Rep. Cheryl Youakim, DFL-St. Louis Park, who chairs the House education policy committee and whose husband is a teacher and whose son begins teaching in the fall, said distance learning has not worked well for every student. She said many students with special needs lost ground.
“There’s a science about why kids need to be in school,” she said. “And there’s a science about how to get them there safely.”