Minnesota Deputy Education Commissioner Heather Mueller encouraged school leaders to begin planning for fall with expectations that it will be unlike any other fall the state has had.
This came as the White House on Thursday outlined a three-phase plan for states to use to begin lifting stay at home orders and opening up their economies:
- Phase 1: A limited group of businesses like restaurants and movie theaters are allowed to reopen while schools remain closed and vulnerable people stay home.
- Phase 2: Schools can reopen and non-essential travel can resume.
- Phase 3: Vulnerable people can resume public interactions while practicing social distancing.
States have to meet “gating” thresholds that may be declining documented cases or a decreasing percentage of positive tests.
While the governor’s current executive order would allow schools to reopen May 4, school leaders should plan for a a variety of scenarios, including students not returning until 2021.
Midwest States Partner
Also on Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that he is partnering with six other Midwest governors to work together on deciding when to reopen the economy. This does not mean that they will open their economies at the same time or take steps in tandem. Minnesota will be working with Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
Gov. Walz emphasized again that Minnesota would take fact-based, data-driven approach to making decisions. The governors identified four primary factors for decision-making:
- Control of the rate of new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations
- The ability to test and trace the disease
- Health care capacity to handle potential resurgence
- Social distancing in the workplace
Currently, Minnesota is under a stay at home order that extends until May 4. Wisconsin has extended its stay at home order through May 26 and its governor said Wisconsin schools will not reopen this year.
Gov. Walz has been under significant pressure to reopen the state’s economy. That does not mean schools would reopen.
Stay apprised of resources and news on COVID-19 for schools at: MREAvoice.org/covid19