(Mankato, MN) – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced in late July that local school districts would be able to decide how to approach learning in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schools were asked earlier in the summer to prepare for three delivery methods of learning: distance, in-person, and a hybrid that included a combination of distance and in-person instruction.
The decision left many parents in a state of uncertainty, as many districts have still not decided how the school year will proceed.
Here’s what we know about some of the local school districts:
Mankato Area Public Schools – A letter to parents from Superintendent Paul Peterson said a final decision on learning delivery will be made in mid-August, and will be based on county health public data.
Loyola Catholic Schools
Under the guidance of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, the Catholic Mankato school will welcome students back to campus on September 1 for five days a week of in-person instruction. The school will also offer distance learning for those who prefer to learn at home, or home health conditions.
Waseca Public Schools
Per state guidance, Waseca Public Schools is tentatively planning for a hybrid model of instruction to begin the school year. The decision is based on the current coronavirus numbers, but could change if Waseca has a change in the infection rate in the next several weeks. A proposed model could be:
New Ulm Public Schools
Based on state guidance, the New Ulm School Board voted unanimously on August 10th to resume in-person learning for elementary students in Kindergarten through 6th Grades, and hybrid learning for grades 7 and up.
Students in 7th – 12th grades would be split into two groups, each attending in-person school instruction two days a week, with the fifth day serving as a support and intervention day for students in need.
Nicollet Public Schools
Principal of Nicollet Public Schools Todd Toulouse tells SMN the district will begin the 2020-2021 school year with a hybrid model for all grades. The decision was reached at a school board meeting Wednesday, August 5th. The hybrid plan would split students into an “A” or “B” group, alternating in-person and distance learning between groups.
The school’s plan says social distancing guidelines will be observed. Classes such as music and physical education will be conducted outdoors, weather allowing. Students over the age of five, and staff are required to wear face masks or shields throughout the school day, including in transportation vehicles. Medical condition exemptions will apply.
Students will be screened for temperatures upon arriving at school.
GFW (Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop) Public Schools
A letter from Superintendent Jeff Horton says GFW Schools have enough space to safely educate all students during both in-person and hybrid learning. An online option will be available for students unable to attend school in person. Weekly updates will be sent to families each Friday with updates on the back-to-school plan.