School closure extension expected but still sad, students say

Lyndale Community School
Students say they're sad that school is closed for the rest of the year but that they understand the reasons why. File photo

Washburn High School 12th-grader Ethan Buss was delivering “Class of 2020” yard signs to his peers earlier today when Gov. Tim Walz announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the year.

“We all kind of expected it to happen,” Buss said, but “it’s sad to finally really know that it’s all over.”

Southwest Minneapolis students and educators said they’re sad about the coronavirus-related closure but that they realize why it’s necessary.

They also said they’ll continue working hard to adjust to remote school.

“I think it’s just going to take an incredible amount of patience for everybody,” Armatage Montessori School principal Joan Franks said.

Franks said students are starting to better understand how to use the online platforms and that teachers have been working hard to keep them engaged.

Everybody is “bending over backwards to get this right,” she said.

Washburn 12th-grader Kal Szarkowicz said she wasn’t surprised by Walz’s decision today but that she’s still pretty upset.

She said the transition to online education hasn’t been too difficult for her, since she likes to work independently, but that it’s been hard not to see friends.

“I’m grateful this happened when we do have technology to still be social,” she said, citing phone apps like FaceTime and Houseparty. But “it definitely hasn’t replaced one-on-one, direct interaction with friends.”

In a press release, Walz called the decision to cancel school “heartbreaking” and said he’s sorry for students, who will miss end-of-year milestones like graduation. “We will continue looking for ways to improve the current system and better support our children,” he said.

Walz today also announced a plan that will allow up to 100,000 workers to return to their jobs in industrial, manufacturing and office settings on Monday. In order to reopen, businesses must implement and share their plans for social distancing, worker hygiene and facility cleaning and disinfection. Visit mn.gov/deed/safework for more information.