Walz to announce return to school plan for middle, high school students

Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz will announce his plan to get more Minnesota middle school and high school students back in the classroom.

Walz's office did not offer details of the announcement, which is set to come in a live speech at 12 p.m., followed by a news conference at 1 p.m. The speech will air live on FOX 9 and be streamed live on fox9.com/live.

The governor has said his goal is to have 100 percent of students in classrooms at least some of the time by this spring.

But when asked by FOX 9 last Friday, Walz said he would not require schools to reopen their buildings by a certain date, which he called a "cookie-cutter" approach.

Walz has said 85 percent of kindergarten through eighth graders are in the classroom at least part-time right now. The percentage falls in high schools.

The governor's announcement is expected to follow guidance on testing and social distancing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday, though many of the CDC's directives were murky.

The CDC said schools in communities with high rates of virus transmission should not be in the classroom. However, the CDC's guidelines put most of the country in that category.

Walz is facing pressure from multiple fronts. Republicans and many parents want schools reopened. But teachers' unions -- which were one of the governor's strongest bases of support during his successful 2018 campaign -- have protested reopenings.