The state of Minnesota is expected to announce its decision on the models that can be used for the start of the school year by week of July 27. School leaders have shared a variety of concerns with the Minnesota Department of Education that Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker says will be considered when developing the guidance for schools.

Some of that guidance for schools will be released the week of June 20.

Key Updates:

  • Guidance on some elements, such as masking, are expected to be released this week.
  • Non-public schools have not had to follow the guidance to this point and that could only change with a provision in an Executive Order.
  • Public schools currently will be held to the minimum student contact day requirement when switching between the three learning models.
  • There is a series of guidance on staffing and workplace requirements from Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry. MDE may release additional education-specific guidance, as needed.
  • MDE released Friday a new guide for families to help them understand what to expect. Learn more

MDE continues to consider developing guidance on a series of components of reopening schools, including COVID-19 testing, providing school-age child care during distance learning, making accommodations, adequate staffing and flexibility in staffing and use of Special Education staff and funds.

Staffing & Expectations

School staff members are protected by a series of state and federal laws. The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry provides information on worker protections related to COVID-19, including:

  • How to handle employees with COVID-19 symptoms or positive test
  • Sick leave
  • Use of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) during COVID-19 (See FAQ)
  • Impact of Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) — Provides employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified
    reasons related to COVID-19
  • Reasonable accommodations, including teleworking, paid, sick, unpaid leave, staggered work schedules and changing workstations to practice social distancing

Preparing for All 3 Scenarios

MDE has asked schools to plan for three scenarios that could be used throughout the next school year. This includes a hybrid learning model that would allow schools to bring students back while following strict social distancing and capacity limits. School leaders have been using these guides and resources to plan for hybrid learning, including building new master schedules.

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