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School year 2020-2021: A localized data driven approach to reopening

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School year 2020-2021: A localized data driven approach to reopening

The Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health have created a check list for school reopening.


Parents, students and educators all over the state have waited patiently for a formal announcement of what the 2020-21 school year will look like. On Thursday, July 30 that announcement finally arrived from the Governor’s Office, Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Schools will begin the year in one of three models: in-person, distance learning or a hybrid model. Based on the number of cases of COVID-19 the MDE and MDH will work with local districts to determine which model they should use to start the school year. The local data indicating the level of viral activity is at the center of the decision making process for the type of learning that will occur within each district. 

Throughout the school year districts may need to shift between the models of learning. The MDE and MDH will assist districts and local health professionals in making these decisions as the year goes on based on the progression of the virus in specific communities. 

Support to provide face coverings for every student, educator and staff member and to create a comprehensive testing plan for educators and staff members is being provided to local districts by the state. This decision also requires districts to provide families with the option to opt for distance learning. Teachers and employees are also allowed the opportunity to opt in to remote working where possible. 

Finalized plans for School districts need to be approved by the school board. 

Barnum School 

Thursday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. the Barnum School Board will meet to discuss the start of school. The meeting will be a remote one held and streamed via Facebook.

Moose Lake School

A Special School Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 6 at 5 p.m. for the Moose Lake School Board to discuss the start of school. “So much depends on how many cases continue to be recorded in Carlton County,” said Shari Anderson Moose Lake School District Secretary in an email update on back to school plans. 

Willow River School 

Bill Peel, Willow River Superintendent, in an email update on back to school plans said, “Based upon current guidelines, and if we don’t see a significant change in COVID rates in our area, Willow River will begin the year with In-Person Learning. Families will also have the option to elect Distance Learning.” The reopening plan will be presented to the Willow River School Board at their regular meeting on August 18 at 6 p.m. A questionnaire was sent out to families requesting information to help the district finalize plans for reopening. The questionnaire is due on Friday, August 7. 


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