Minneapolis schools to close Tuesday

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) will close on Tuesday and won’t resume classes until at least April 6.

The district will be open for school on Monday to help staff and families prepare for the upcoming closure. It plans on providing more information about learning alternatives, food supports and other resources as it processes guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education.

If families choose to keep a child home on Monday, they should call their school office so the absence can be marked as excused. Similarly, staff should work with their supervisors.

Gov. Tim Walz has ordered all schools to close to students beginning on Wednesday through March 27. He also encouraged tribal and private schools to fulfill the order.

The closure is intended to provide schools adequate time to prepare to educate students during the COVID-19 pandemic should schools need to close for an extended period.

“We are not accommodating a couple snow days,” Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said. “We are planning for the potential of weeks of distance learning delivery.”

The order stipulates that schools are expected to provide meals to their students during the closure period. They also must provide care to, at a minimum, students 12 and under who are the children of health care emergency workers.

It doesn’t require districts to make up instructional time lost during the closure period.

Ricker said districts are expected to pay their hourly workers, such as paraprofessionals, nutrition staff and school bus drivers, and that those employees should be incorporated into district learning plans.

Starting March 30, the state expects that student learning will continue for the rest of the year.

State officials are also encouraging child care providers to remain open.

MPS has been open for the past week, though on Thursday, the district had recommended cancellation of all plays, concerts, field trips, fundraisers and school assemblies.

The district is scheduled to go on spring break the week of March 30.