It's back-to-school time; 7 new things this year


Tuesday is the first day of school for the majority of students in Minnesota. Although a few dozen of the state's 339 school districts began classes a week ago, most everyone else starts school the day after Labor Day.

There are some 900,ooo K-12 students who attend public or private schools in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

While they were off enjoying their summer vacations, their school leaders were putting the finishing touches on some new initiatives required by the state. We also saw quite a few stories of interest to school kids and their parents. So, in honor of the first day of school, here's a list for you to review.

Back-to-school costs

New national numbers indicate families will spend an average of $670 this year on supplies for children in grades K through 12. That’s up 22 percent from five years ago, according to the National Retail Federation, double the rate of inflation over the same period.

New immunization rules

The new rules now mandate certain immunizations for children participating in early childhood education programs. They were not covered under the previous rules. There are also a few changes to the current list of immunizations.-

Anti-bullying law

The Safe and Supportive Schools Act requires districts to track and investigate cases of bullying, and also requires schools to offer training to staff in how to prevent bullying. The legislation also further defines bullying. It notes, in part, that bullying causes physical harm or fear of physical harm and “constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

All-day kindergarten

Students can attend all-day kindergarten for no extra cost due to a law that was passed in 2013. Previously, parents in some districts had to pay an extra fee to send their children to all-day kindergarten. School districts have been preparing by juggling classroom space and staffing assignments.


Taking the ACT college admission test will now be a graduation requirement for all Minnesota students, with 11th graders required to take the test this coming school year, according to KSTP. In the past, students had to pass a different exit exam in order to graduate, but that test isn't recognized by colleges. The ACT replaces the old exam.

Teacher Evaluations

In 2011, lawmakers revamped Minnesota's teacher evaluation law. Under the old system, some teachers went a decade or longer without receiving proper feedback, according to KSTP. Under the new law, new teachers will be given formal evaluations each year for three years.

Nutrition changes

New nutritional standards take effect this fall which call for less sodium and more whole grains and fruits and vegetables. The requirements, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also call for healthier snacks and drinks in school vending machines and snack bars.

Next Up

Flickr -  Bank Plaze Nov 2020 - Chad Davis

US Bank employees won't return to downtown Minneapolis office next month

The company, citing COVID's resurgence, has pushed back its office return plans.

Katie Storm Twitter Bally Sports North - Aug 4 2021

MN native Katie Storm returning home for role with Bally Sports North

The St. Cloud State grad had worked for Fox Sports North before leaving for Philadelphia.

Flickr - Wisconsin State Fair cream puff - USDA

Free cream puff for people who get vaccinated at the Wisconsin State Fair

Get a shot, then head over to Cream Puff Pavilion for a free treat.

theodore wirth trailhead

Minneapolis parks now requiring masks in all indoor spaces

Anyone going inside recreation centers, ice arenas, and indoor spaces at pools must put on a mask.

Eric Reinbold - Pennington County Sheriff Aug 4 2021

At-large murder suspect was caught after triggering trail camera

Authorities had been searching for Eric Reinbold for nearly a month.

Flickr - toxic algae bloom - MPCA Photos

Climate change is warming lakes, leading to more toxic algae blooms

The MPCA says blue-green algae blooms are occurring all across the state.

vaccine, covid

Minnesotans can now register to get $100 for getting the COVID-19 vaccine

It's available for those who get their first jab between July 30 and Aug. 15.

Phillip Miller

Benton County prosecutor charged with sexual assault of teenager

Phillip Miller has been charged with varying levels of sexual assault charges.

Pixabay - pistol holster handgun

Permit-to-carry law doesn't violate 2nd amendment, MN Supreme Court says

A man charged with carrying a pistol without a permit argued it was unconstitutional.


Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, August 4

The delta variant has been leading to higher case counts and hospitalizations in Minnesota.