Minneapolis Public Schools confirms it will start 2020-21 year with distance learning

MPS' 2020-21 school year begins Sept. 8.

It's official. Minneapolis Public Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with distance learning as the primary source of instruction. 

A plan of the district's back-to-school model were released earlier this week, though it was formally introduced through messaging to families on Thursday, shortly after Gov. Tim Walz and the Department of Education announced more detailed plans for the entire state. 

"We'll review that decision regularly to see what we can do to increase learning, or even better, ensure our staff and students' safety," said MPS Superintendent Ed Graff. 

"We'll review the community's infection rate, the operational effectiveness of the learning format, feedback from our families on their student's learning experience, and staff availability, as well as their health and wellbeing." 

Technically, MPS is not going with 100% distance learning. Its plan will be distance learning with supports, which means that while remote learning will be the "primary" form of education, the school district will also offer additional "targeted support" such as tutoring, technology, and mental health support to students and families.

School buildings will be reopened to provide the targeted support. 

You can find the district's full back-to-school planning and guidance here.

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Gov. Tim Walz has said school districts will be charged with making a decision on their respective opening plans, but must do so while incorporating guidance and recommendations from state health and education officials.

Walz has also said funding will be provided to ensure schools can provide the technology for distance learning, as well as provide up to four face masks for students, and access to testing for teachers.

The extent that schools reopen will be partly based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the surrounding area, though districts can choose to open with distance or hybrid learning even if it meets the thresholds to open for in-person instruction. More on that here.

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