Walz executive order aims to make life easier for teachers during COVID

Education Minnesota calls it "a step in the right direction."
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Governor Tim Walz

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz this week signed an executive order aimed at making things easier for teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Executive Order 20-94, which he signed Thursday, Walz "strongly" discourages schools from requiring teachers to teach students live in-person and remotely at the same time. 

"Teachers are stretched too thin. We must relieve pressures on schools and educators to allow for capacity and resources to focus on students’ learning needs," Executive Order 20-94 states. "Districts and charter schools should implement teaching and learning environments that do not require teachers to provide instruction simultaneously to students who are in person and those that are learning remotely." 

The order also requires schools to give teachers an extra 30 minutes of planning time each day to prepare for distance learning. 

In October, Education Minnesota, the state's teacher's union, released results from a survey that found many teachers are stressed and overwhelmed this year, especially those who are simultaneously providing lessons to students online while teaching in-person students in their classroom.

In a statement Thursday, Education Minnesota called the executive orders a "step in the right direction." 

Union President Denise Specht in a statement to the Pioneer Press said, "As our union has said before, some models now in place put unsustainable workloads on educators and we have called for course corrections in those places,” she said in a statement. “Today’s guidance is a step in the right direction by adding time for educators to modify lessons and evaluate student data, and by giving educators more flexibility by creating space in the schedule for asynchronous learning,”

The executive order also clarifies some other items in previous executive orders related to schools. You can read it here

Walz signed Executive Order 20-95 on Friday, which clarifies the effective date in Executive Order 20-94 to say it goes into effect "as soon as is practicable but no later than Nov. 30."

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