Health officials say these MN districts can reopen schools. So, why won’t they?

Aug 9, 2020 by

16 Minnesota school districts have settled on a model that’s more cautious than Gov. Tim Walz’s long-awaited guidelines advise

According to state guidelines, the coronavirus pandemic in and around South Washington County Schools is contained enough to safely bring elementary students back to school full time and secondary students part time.

For school board members, however, such a scenario is far too risky. They voted last week to use an instruction model one level safer than state guidelines suggest for the upcoming school year.

At least three board members think even that’s too dangerous. They’ll consider voting Thursday to keep every student home at the start of the school year.

“I don’t really want to play Russian roulette with children’s and teachers’ lives,” Melinda Dols said Monday.

At least 23 of Minnesota’s largest school districts already have decided where and how instruction will take place to start the school year. Of those, 16 have settled on a model that’s more cautious than Gov. Tim Walz’s long-awaited guidelines advise.

Many school districts have been surveying parents and teachers about their concerns and intentions for the start of the school year. Districts may be playing it safe because that’s what their communities say they want, said Deb Henton, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Psychology professor Paul Slovic, who studies risk assessment and decision making at the University of Oregon, said deciding when to reopen schools during the pandemic is complicated.

“The decision rests on values such as the importance and effectiveness of in-class education vs distance learning, the benefits to the economy and household finances of allowing parents to work, and the risk to children, parents, and the community associated with these various instruction models,” he said by email.

“Those opting for more cautious plans are giving more weight to protecting the health of kids and the community.”

continue: Health officials say these MN districts can reopen schools. So, why won’t they? – Twin Cities

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