Walz: Schools to remain open for children of health care workers, emergency responders

During a news conference in which he ordered all Minnesota K-12 public schools to temporarily close starting Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz added a caveat aimed to help Minnesotans on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. 

Walz's executive order requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to help those workers stay on the job and help fight the coronavirus outbreak. 

The schools will help care for the young children during the school closures so hospitals and other health clinics can remain fully staffed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The schools will be closed from Wednesday to Friday, March 27 in order to combat COVID-19

During the address, Walz announced that Minnesota now has 35 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus statewide. 

Several Midwestern states have ordered schools closed, including neighboring Wisconsin and South Dakota, amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Last week, Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health had no plans to cancel classes for primary and high school students. Speaking with members of the media on Thursday, MDH officials said COVID-19 presents less risk to children and closing schools could create unintended disruption.