The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provided clarity and responded to questions related to Gov. Tim Walz’s latest Executive Order and direction to E-12 schools. MDE updated the Safe Learning Plan based on the governor’s guidance and feedback from schools.

Key clarification areas include:

  • Implement a Rolling Start
  • Face Coverings
  • Specialized Classes
  • Meals
  • Transition Time

View the updated Safe Learning Plan.

 Implementing the rolling start

  •  No more than three grade bands can be introduced into the building in a two-week period when implementing an in-person or hybrid learning model for the entire school building.
  • Early learning and pre-kindergarten programs must be included in the grade band maximum if the students interact with other elementary grade students during the day.  If they are self-contained, districts do not need to include them.
  • If a school can ensure all safety protocols are being implemented, a school operating in a hybrid model can continue with hybrid learning while implementing the rolling start to in-person. 
  • Districts do not need to implement a rolling start ithey have already communicated a change in learning plan to their families prior to Dec. 16th, regardless of the plan’s effective date.

Learn more on pages 10-11 in Safe Learning Plan.

Wearing masks and face shields

  • Face masks and shields must be worn together by school staff at all times.
  • One exemption is when staff are serving students where seeing a person’s lips is necessary.
  • Staff members are encouraged to wear a clear mask in addition to the face shield if possible.   

Learn more on page 16 in Safe Learning Plan.

Specialized classes for early learning and elementary schools

  • All special lessons must be held in the classroom or outside weather permitting.
  • Physical education classes that cannot operate in the classroom may continue outside the classroom if staff and students are wearing face coverings. 
  • Art classes may continue to be held indoors outside of the individual classrooms if they are able to follow the music activities guidance and the health measures laid out in the 2020-21 Planning Guide for schools. 
  • Student support programs such as Special Education, EL, G&T and counseling may continue to pull students from their primary classrooms. Keep groups small.

Learn more on page 11 in Safe Learning Plan.

Meal times

  •  School meals can be held in the cafeteria if students can be 6 feet apart and cohorts can be clearly separated. 
  • If meals need to be held in the classroom, schools may have meals delivered or have students bring food from the cafeteria back to their classroom to eat. 

Learn more on page 11 in Safe Learning Plan.

Transition time

  • If districts have not implemented full inperson learning during the 2020-21 school year, they are required to use two or more transition days for staff to come back into the building and prepare for students transitioning into in-person or hybrid learning with the additional mitigation measures.
  • If districts need additional transition days, they can notify MDE.

Learn more on pages 11-12 in Safe Learning Plan.