Minnesota schools are expected to be able to bypass required standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) said Friday that it plans to apply for a waiver now available from the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal law requires all states to test students each year in core subjects in grades three through eight, plus once during high school. These tests typically take place in the spring.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Friday when announcing the waivers nationwide. “Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time.

“Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I’ve spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I’m inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We’re going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible.”

Each state needs to apply for a waiver.

The U.S. Department of Education will continue to speak with state and local leaders to identify any additional needed flexibilities, and it remains in coordination with Congress on expanding the range of flexibilities available to the Department under law.

The Department continues to update www.ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

View additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19.