Minnesota school districts exploring summer school options after order allowing some in-person learning

After more than six weeks of e-learning at home with a couple of elementary school-aged kids, the Fox family is ready for summer. 

“I think this is the first time in history of my life that I’ve been counting down the days of school. We are so ready to be done,” Heather Fox, whose kids go to Edina Public Schools. 

The only problem is Heather and her husband, Brad, are still is not sure what all the camps and educational offerings they signed up their kids Wesley and graham for will truly look like. 

However, the executive order signed issued by Gov. Tim Walz this week has given them some hope portions of the programming might actually take place in-person. 

“Our kids are getting bored of us,” Heather said. “They’re definitely ready to get back to doing stuff beyond just mom and dad.” 

Emergency executive order 20-57 gives school districts across the state the flexibility for some in-person instruction if they are in compliance with health guidelines on masking, social distancing, personal hygiene and cleaning.

Of course, most school buildings have been physically closed since mid-March, so the order has districts, including Bloomington, reviewing their options when it comes to traditional summer school as well as community education youth enrichment programs.

“So there’s activities, there’s field trips, hands-on experiential learning. It’s not a total classroom kind of thing. Those are the areas that are going to be more difficult to fulfill based on current guidelines we have,” said Rick Kaufman, spokesperson for Bloomington Public Schools. 

St. Paul Public Schools told FOX 9 the district was preparing for a full distance, e-learning summer offering, but are now exploring other options for the month ahead.  

Kaufman said administrators will be meeting in the days ahead to finalize plans based on the governor’s order. 

“The more we dig into it, the more we’ll be able to flush out more specifically what we may be able to do,” he said.

Kaufman figures in a typical year about one-third of the district’s 10,000 students take part in some type of summer program. But during these unprecedented times, coming off a couple months of e-learning, it is impossible to predict what families will be looking for in June, July and August.