MPS School Board votes down distance learning resolution, wants to wait for state guidance

The Minneapolis Board of Education voted against a resolution that called for starting the school year with distance learning, reports Kare 11.

While Superintendent Ed Graff announced last week the district was planning a “phased” back-to-school approach beginning with distance learning with supports, the school board decided it was too early to make that call, citing a “need for the governor to weigh in.”

Gov. Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education are expected to announce their statewide guidance for the 2020 school year tomorrow, July 30. Through its Open MN Schools campaign, the Center sent state leaders a petition signed by thousands of Minnesotans imploring them to give students the option to learn in their classrooms this fall.

The science supports sending kids back to school, as children and teenagers are not only less likely to contract COVID-19 they are also less likely to be spreaders of it. According to Dr. Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, “there has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world.” A Minnesota medical professional and statistician analyzed data from the Minnesota Department of Health and shared on Twitter that young people aged 19 and younger have a 99.99 percent chance of recovering from the coronavirus, and 104 times more have died from accidents this year. Parents and teachers aged 20-59 have a 99.68 percent chance of recovering from the virus, and eight times more have died from accidents this year.

In addition, keeping school doors locked risks exacerbating educational, health, and economic disparities. The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics told KSTP News it “strongly supports” guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding in-person schooling, as to “not worsen Minnesota’s pre-existing opportunity gaps.”