Elementary schools across the state opened up on Tuesday, January 19, for in-person instruction after many schools had gone to distance or hybrid learning because of the pandemic. Governor Walz announced the phased-in school re-opening in December as part of the Safe Learning Plan. School districts across the state are focusing on kindergarteners, first-graders, and second graders, allowing for the youngest Minnesotan students to return to their classrooms. Many hope to bring older students back into the classroom in February.
As schools begin to reopen, state guidelines call for safety measures within each classroom. Teachers are recommended to wear both face masks and plastic face shields, plexiglass barriers are to be used between teachers and students when social distancing is not feasible, and regular COVID-19 testing must be available for school staff.
Governor Walz announced that teachers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes more available across the state, with elementary and other in-person teachers having first priority. While school districts slowly make the transition back to full in-person instruction, families still have the option to continue with distance learning.