Lakeville school board votes to delay return to classroom for grades 6-12

The logo of the Lakeville Area Schools. (FOX 9)

As the governor prepares to lay out his strategy for more students to return to the classroom, one Twin Cities metro school district is pumping the brakes.

Tuesday night, the Lakeville Area Public Schools Board of Education decided to push back in-person learning for grades 6-12. Students were supposed to start hybrid learning on Feb. 22, but that’s been pushed back for one month, pending state approval.   

Some parents attending the meeting said they are disappointed with the plan.

"I wanted to confirm that and make sure that if it isn’t approved - what happens then?" said Angelica Criswell, a Lakeville Area Schools parent. "It’s another month that they have to do this distance learning which is not working."

Students in grades 6-9 will begin in-person learning on Monday, March 22, and students in grades 10-12 will begin in-person learning on Monday, April 6 under the school district's updated plan. The in-person delay comes after a majority of students, parents, and staff told the district in a survey they don’t like the hybrid model where students are only in-person some days of the week.  

"85 percent of staff, 65 percent of students and 57 percent of parents said they had a preference of remaining in distance learning until it’s safe to resume full time in person," said Michael Baumann, the superintendent of Lakeville Area Schools.   

The Lakeville school board’s decision comes days after the CDC announced its latest guidelines to reopen schools where the transmission is low. The board’s decision also comes the day before Governor Tim Walz will announce his plan for middle and high school students to return to the classroom.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcom says getting students back in schools is the governor’s priority.  

"We along with the governor and certainly the Department of Education in the lead are reviewing that CDC roadmap on Friday and hope to have more soon to share on that," said Malcolm.