In recent weeks, an increase in COVID-19 cases has led more schools in Minnesota to scale back their learning models, with many moving or announcing plans to move to distance learning. Officials from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) shared Thursday that Gov. Tim Walz has no plans at this time to use his authority to call all Minnesota schools to distance learning.

MDE leaders continue to provide updates on guidance to school leaders on a variety of topics. Here are the latest updates:

  • Childcare: Free childcare for critical workers should be for extreme circumstances. Iin a two parent household one of the parents is not a critical care worker, schools don’t need to provide child age care. MDE has updated who qualifies as critical workers.
  • Added Prep for Teachers: As part of the new guidance, teachers are to receive an additional 30 minutes per day for teacher prep time above their current prep time. This will counts as student time. Teachers are not expected to teach during this time and this is teacher directed time. The time can be cumulative and does not have to happen daily.  In other words, take 2.5 hours in one day. 
  • Relief Funds: Schools need to draw down and use 75 percent of their relief funds by Nov. 13. 
  • Saliva Testing for Schools: MDE encourages schools to use saliva testing for COVID-19 with their staff and has resources to support school districts across the state. MDE leaders emphasized that the saliva testing should be voluntary and can be done at testing sites throughout the state. Learn more.

MDE continues to provide updated guidance on its COVID-19 website. Scroll to the bottom for the core documents or click on the links in the navigation on the left side of the page by topic.