Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-82 to implement Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year. This plan uses a localized, data-driven approach that allows school districts and charter schools to operate in a learning model that is responsive the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in their community. The plan prioritizes safe learning for all Minnesota students, including requiring school districts and charter schools to give families the option to choose distance learning for their student no matter which learning model their school is implementing.
As Minnesota continues to prioritize in-person learning for young learners, the Safe Learning Plan has been updated. Starting on January 18, 2021, every elementary school across the state may choose to operate an in-person learning model without needing to consult their Regional Support Team, as long as they are able to implement all mitigation strategies outlined in the plan. Middle and high schools will continue to use the original process for determining their learning model, and must also implement the additional health and safety measures if they are providing in-person or hybrid learning.
One new mitigation strategy being implemented beginning January 4, 2021, is that all public schools providing in-person or hybrid learning must offer on-site testing to all staff that interact with students. This includes teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, support staff, nutrition staff, bus drivers and more. The state of Minnesota will provide training and saliva test kits so that schools can conduct this testing. Training and supplies will be available to nonpublic and tribal schools operating in-person or hybrid learning who wish to test their staff, as well. A questions and answers document is available on this topic.
Consistent with guidance from the CDC, Minnesota has strongly recommended widespread use of face coverings since April. On July 22, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-81 requiring face coverings in all indoor public spaces in Minnesota, including K-12 school buildings.
School districts and charter schools must adhere to the health requirements and recommendations in the 2020-2021 Planning Guide for Schools, issued by MDH, and should consult the 2020-21 Planning Guidance for Minnesota Public Schools, issued by MDE, to develop and update their plans.
Governor Walz is making $430 million available to school districts and charter schools to help them prepare for the 2020-21 school year. These funds can be used to cover operational costs (e.g., cleaning and screen supplies, technology, Wi-Fi, and mental health supports) and support to boost student, family, and educator support, such as digital training, tutors, translation services, and professional development.
Safe Learning Model Data
Minnesotans can now view data on learning model implementation throughout the state using two tools. Learn more and view the data on the Safe Learning Model Data page.
Check this page often to track school-related updates on the COVID-19 response. You can sign up to receive email notifications when this page is updated. We have also added sub-pages to help organize the COVID-19 information. Find up-to-date program guidance on these topics in the left navigation, or use the links provided below:
- CARES Act Funding Information
- Food and Nutrition Services
- Health Resources for Schools
- Public Engagement
- Safe Learning Model Data
- Special Education
- Student Instruction
- Supporting Students and Families
- Webinars for Educators
COVID-19 Public Health Information
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and is coordinating with other state and local agencies to share information and updates. MDH has a web page dedicated to information related to schools. This is an evolving situation, so check back to the MDH Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website often for the latest information. For assistance with health-related questions about the coronavirus outbreak, email the Minnesota Department of Health.