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Minnesota set to release fall guidance for K-12 schools on Thursday

The Department of Education has been considering three possible scenarios.

Guidance for the return of school in the fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be released on Thursday.

The Minnesota Department of Health has announced it's holding a conference call with media at 2 p.m., which Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller will be joining.

She will be there "to discuss the new fall planning guidance for K-12 schools that will be released on Thursday," per the Department of Health.

It was revealed earlier this week that the education department is considering 3 scenarios for the return to school in September: Fully resuming in-person classes; a hybrid of in-person and distance learning; and total distance learning.

But the possibility that in-person classes can resume continues to grow if the coronavirus trends continue as they are in Minnesota, which is prompting higher education establishments including the University of Minnesota to announce they will resume in-person tuition in September.

The numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 have been trending downward in recent weeks.

However, it hasn't yet been seen whether the loosening of restrictions to allow restaurants and bars to resume dine-in service as of June 10 has had any impact on COVID-19 rates, with other states that have reopened – including Texas, Arizona and Florida – having subsequently seen significant spikes in cases.

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That doesn't seem to be the case yet in the Upper Midwest, with the likes of Wisconsin and Illinois joining Minnesota in seeing the virus slow.

Even the widespread protests in the Twin Cities in the wake of George Floyd's death haven't yet resulted in a spike in cases, with pictures and videos from the demonstrations showing that the majority were wearing face masks.

But epidemiologists, including the U of M's Dr. Michael Osterholm, have warned that there remains the potential for a larger "second wave" of the virus in the fall and winter.

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