Survey Says: 64 percent of MN parents want kids in school this fall

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) recently conducted an informal survey asking Minnesota families about their experience with distance learning and their hopes for the upcoming school year. According to the data collected from over 130,000 respondents, 64.3% are “comfortable” sending their students to school in the fall. And of those comfortable, 94.4% would prefer to send their students back full-time.

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

Among parents who were “unsure” whether they are comfortable having students return to the classroom this fall, 87.2% said “daily cleaning of surfaces” would make them feel comfortable, followed by 76% who said “smaller class sizes” and 72.2% “daily health checks.”

As I have previously written, MDE in partnership with MDH and the Governor’s office are expected to announce their school reopening plans for fall 2020 by the week of July 27. Schools have been directed to develop three contingency plans based on three scenarios: all students return to school (which our nation’s pediatricians have strongly advocated for), students return to school under a hybrid model (a mix of in-school and distance learning), no students return to school (distance learning only).

Governor Walz has appeared to suggest schools won’t fully reopen this fall, according to Alpha News, despite a steady decrease in COVID-19 deaths and mounting evidence that children may be less likely to become infected and spread infection because they are less likely to catch the disease in the first place.

The White House held a summit on safely reopening schools on Tuesday, with health and education officials noting the importance of in-person learning for the safety and well-being of students and the consequences if children didn’t return to the classroom this year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield stated CDC guidance to reopen schools should not be used as a reason not to reopen. Redfield told The Hill that “as a public health leader in this nation…having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen.” Redfield is “confident we can open these schools safely.”