Minnesota governor to make decision on extending school closure this week

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he would make the call this week on closing school for the rest of the academic year. That announcement could happen as soon as Thursday.

The governor's final decision has not been made public, but Walz has consistently said that students would likely not return to the classroom in the 2019-20 year. Several states, including Wisconsin, have already called off in-person classes for the remainder of the school year.

Under the current stay-at-home order schools will remain closed until May 4. Earlier this month, Gov. Walz said it is “heartbreaking” that so many activities, sports seasons and likely in-person graduations are being canceled.

“My top priority as governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children,” Gov. Walz said when he announced the temporary school closures on March 14. “I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids regardless of what’s to come.”

MCA tests canceled

With schools closed and students participating in distancing learning until at least May due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Education officially canceled the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, also known as the MCA tests, for the 2019-20 school year. 

Feeding students

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has asked districts and charter schools to self-report the daily number of meals they are serving to their communities and the number of students receiving school-age care. According to a State Emergency Operations Center report, the final count over the third week of distance learning, with about 363 school districts and charter schools reporting, are:

  • 1,695,756 meals served
  • 6,430 average school-age students cared for each day

The combined total for the first three weeks of distance learning, with about 347 school districts and charter schools reporting, are:

  • 4,596,376 meals served
  • 6,101 average school-age students cared for each day

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.