Older students return to classrooms, parents not satisfied with learning model restrictions

Many middle and high school Minnesota students returned to their classrooms today for the first time in months, reports WCCO News. But unlike elementary schools in the state, the base learning model used by middle and high schools is still being determined by arbitrary county-case rate measures. This limits most of the schools’ return to a hybrid model, which is some in-person instruction but still some distance learning as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for in-person instruction on Friday, such as universal mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, but did not make teachers getting vaccinated a requirement for schools to reopen.

Pressure to get more students back into the classroom continues to mount, particularly given the growing research that schools aren’t the super-spreaders they were once feared to be and the social, emotional, and academic toll distance learning has had on many students.

An online survey conducted by Let Them Learn MN the end of January found parents are overwhelmingly concerned about their children’s academic experience and mental health, according to Star News. With over 1,500 parent responses,

  • 84% were concerned about their child’s mental health.
  • 80% said their children had experienced anxiety or symptoms of depression.
  • 28% had a student who had required new mental health treatment.
  • 68% reported their child was receiving lower grades.
  • 30% said their student was failing at least one course.

In addition, 84 percent of survey respondents said they are not satisfied with the quality of education their children are receiving under restrictions created by Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan.