Concerns remain for Minnesota teachers as questions loom on fall planning for schools

A day after Governor Walz announced he will leave it up to districts to decide on fall plans for their schools, teachers say they still have plenty of concerns about returning to in-person instruction in the fall.

"I’ve tried to resign myself to just be relaxed about it," said social studies teacher Mark Westpfahl. "And as the press conference went on is when I started to get a little more agitated because I wanted to know the details."

In the day that has followed the governor’s announcement on the fall learning plan, middle school teacher Mark Westpfahl’s not feeling much calmer.

"Just some of those uncertainties and not being able to control a lot of those factors, that’s what made me just go back and forth in this realm of emotions," he says.

There are still many questions he’s running through in his mind.

"Are we delivering content every day, are we delivering it every other day, how do we do social-emotional learning?" asked Westpfahl.

Elementary school teacher and coach Omar McMillan is still sorting through it all as well.

"I was probably more confused after the announcement than I was before the announcement because they kind of left still a lot of unanswered things," said McMillan.

While student safety is top of mind, he wants to make sure their academics and mental health isn’t left behind.

"What can we do to give each kid the best possible learning because I think we identified with the distance learning is that things aren’t equitable," said McMillan.

He points out really everything will be different for kids and teachers moving forward.

"So when we’re going back to school with all the things that have happened with the pandemic, with the George Floyd situation, the murdering," he said. "We’re dealing with not only the COVID-19 but dealing with the social justice piece as well. So there's no way we can go back to school teaching the same way prior to the whole pandemic outbreak."