Back to school: Districts grapple with security, pertussis


The State Fair is over, and cooler weather has swept across Minnesota – it must be the first day of school (for many districts, at least).

This is the first school year start since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, and the Star Tribune examines school security upgrades. In St. Paul, some schools have new entrances that require card access during school hours, new cameras, motion detectors and improved alarms, the newspaper reports. Districts are mulling all kinds of new security improvements, from hiring more security officers to upgrading to more shatterproof window glass, the newspaper reports.

How much is too much security?

“There’s a fine line between building a fortress and maintaining a safe and caring learning center,” Edina schools spokeswoman Susan Brott told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, school health officials are carefully monitoring cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, MPR reports. Last year, the state had a relatively large outbreak – 4,639 confirmed, probable and suspected cases – compared to just 657 cases in the first eight months of this year.

But public health officials are concerned that children headed back to school could bring a surge in new cases of the infection, MPR reports.

In other news, one St. Paul teacher has a great what-I-did-this-summer story: Suzanne Susens went to Myanmar for a month in an effort to better understand her Como High School students' culture, the Pioneer Press reports. Many of her students' families come from the southeast Asian nation.

School will be back in session today for 27 Minneapolis schools that do not have air conditioning. The school year started last week in the city, but district officials canceled classes in the 27 schools because of high temperatures.

And what are kids wearing this year? WCCO recently listed the top five back-to-school fashion trends for both boys and girls. Would you believe ankle boots?

Minnesota has nearly 2,000 public schools statewide, with about 825,000 students and about 52,500 teachers, the state reports.

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, April 10

Cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Minnesota.

Gabe Kalscheur

Gabe Kalscheur announces he's transferring to Iowa State

The former Gopher guard entered the transfer portal last month.


Asked about restrictions, Walz says Minnesota is in a 'hold pattern'

Meanwhile, the governor of Michigan is urging people to stay home to slow the spread.

walz and zapko

Watch: Beloved MN sign language interpreter profiled on Today Show

Nic Zapka's work made her an internet celebrity last year.

White Bear Lake Area High School

White Bear Lake students hold walkout over racist social media comments

School officials are investigating the anonymous Instagram account.

Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 4.48.00 PM

Hennepin Co. medical examiner: Police interaction tipped Floyd 'over the edge'

Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed Floyd's autopsy, testified Friday in the trial of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin.


Attention, CNN: There will be extra tornado sirens in Minnesota next week

The national broadcaster was caught by surprise by the test this past Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 11.41.46 AM

Minneapolis Parks and Rec buys land to create park in North Loop

The Parks and Recreation Board is paying just over $2M for the land.

traffic stop

Speed-related crashes, deaths are a mounting problem in Minnesota

Fatal speed-related crashes are ahead of last year's pace.


Students back to school in 30 districts

About 30 districts in Minneapolis sent their students back to school Monday. More than 30,000 students in Minneapolis were among them. New this year in the city: a public transportation program for high school students and a new schools headquarters.