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Reports: Walz to leave reopening decision up to school districts

It sounds like there won't be a statewide mandate.

Gov. Tim Walz will reportedly announce Thursday that the decision on how schools will reopen in fall will be left up to school districts.

The governor is making his long awaited announcement at a 2 p.m. press conference, addressing how schools should function amid the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Three possible scenarios were being considered: in-person tuition with safety measures; distance learning only; or a hybrid of both.

But KSTP reports that Walz will leave the decision on how to approach the new school year up to individual school districts, which is something that Republican lawmakers in Greater Minnesota have particularly been calling for.

But as KSTP's Tom Hauser notes, the state will still issue guidance for how schools should operate in the event they reopen to students.

Furthermore, WCCO-AM's Blois Olson says that school districts will be required to offer distance learning for the children and families who ask for it, and the state will still monitor for possible local outbreaks and issue closure notices if required.

It remains to be seen if this will result in teachers having to teach students both in person and online simultaneously.

Some districts have already revealed early plans for the new school year, with Minneapolis considering starting with distance learning only on Sept. 8, though some school buildings will be open for targeted teaching and additional support for individual students.

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