Education Minnesota: 'tremendous amount of work' to be done

Education Minnesota: 'tremendous amount of work' to be done Photo: Education Minnesota

Created: July 30, 2020 05:32 PM

On Thursday, Governor Tim Walz announced a set of ground rules for faculty and students to return to school in some fashion this fall. Education Minnesota cautions that there is still 'tremendous amount of work' that needs to be done to make the buildings safe.  

The governor's plan would give local officials and educators some leeway over how they plan to teach their students.

“Educators want to be back in their classrooms with their students, but only if it can be done safely,”  Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota said in a press release. “The governor’s plan uses the latest data and best science to guide districts toward the right choice between distance learning, in-person classes or a hybrid of the two."

Governor Walz's plan shows physically reopening the schools would require the COVID-19 data to show a low level of community spread in the community, and additional safety precautions put in schools. 
According to the press release, the governor’s plan leaves many decisions to local school boards, school administrators and educators. Specht says that means a “tremendous amount of work” needs to get done before school buildings can reopen to large numbers of students. 

“Physically opening school buildings to our students will take a tremendous amount of work from everyone in the school community – school board members, administrators, educators and parents – before we can do it safely,” Specht said in the release. “We cannot be bullied by arbitrary start dates on the calendar or settle for ‘safe enough’ because that’s all an underfunded district can afford. In-person and hybrid learning shouldn’t start until our schools are ready.” 

Specht said she was happy to hear the governor’s comments Thursday afternoon stressing the importance of racial equity in the decision to resume public education in the fall.  

“All the survey data shows communities of color are more anxious about physically returning to the classroom because of how the pandemic has magnified the racial disparities that run through health care, public education and so many other systems in our state. Depending on how you look or where you live, the risks of COVID-19 very are different,” Specht said. “The governor and his team made the right decision to order accommodations for families who aren’t comfortable returning to in-person learning at this stage of the pandemic. Our union will work with districts to protect high-risk educators as well.” 

Individual school districts are looking over the recommended plans before making announcements.

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