The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provided additional guidance to E-12 public schools this week on learning and expectations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key updates impact:
- Adjusting learning models
- Quarantines for students and staff
- Handling Snow Days
- World’s Best Workforce and achievement reports
Adjusting the learning model
School districts may adjust their learning model based on the district’s statistics, rather than simply county-level data. MDE told school leaders Thursday that the decision is very much a local decision with multiple data points that help guide the decision. That means schools in the same community can be in different learning models based on each school’s data.
If a school district chooses the distance learning model when the data supports a less restrictive model, the district can allow students to participate in activities and athletics.
Quarantining students and staff
Students and staff cannot test out of the 14 days of quarantine. This means that if a person qualifies to be quarantined, they cannot go to a clinic and get a COVID-19 test that will reduce the quarantine less than 14 days.
As snow has already fallen across much of the state, MDE provided guidance on how to handle Snow Days for the different learning models that schools may be in at the time:
- In person learning: Use a non-instructional day or e-learning day
- Distance learning: Considered a normal school day
- Hybrid learning: Schools may have all students do distance learning that day or use an e-learning day or a non-instructional day. MDE recommends doing a distance learning day.
Minnesota school leaders have been concerned about the truancy levels that they are seeing in their schools and have asked for guidance from MDE on how to handle this issue during COVID. MDE is conducting the final review of updated guidance on truancy now and expects to provide the guidance to school leaders early next week.
MDE is making adjustments to the World’s Best Workforce and achievement and integration reports currently required for schools. The revised templates will allow school districts to check areas as “Non-Applicable.” This is a result of not having the appropriate data in certain sections to complete the reports. The templates will be coming out early next week.