Superintendents Taking Different Approaches To Planning For Fall Return To School

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday was the first full day for school districts to begin working with the governor’s recommendations on what learning will look like in the fall.

Dr. Dan Bittman is the superintendent of ISD 728, which serves students in Elk River, Zimmerman and Otsego.

He says they’ve been preparing for the fall well before the governor’s decision.

“As a district we’ve already spent approximately $100,000 on cleaning supplies,” Bittman said.

He plans on using parent feedback through an email survey to decide what the fall will look like, whether that’s in-person or distance learning. His district is preparing for all options to play out.

“Buses for example can only have 50% occupancy, so that means only about 26 students on a bus so we that means we have to be thoughtful about how many students are coming in and out,” Bittman said.

At one of the largest school districts in the state, Dr. Joe Gothard, the St. Paul Public Schools superintendent, has already made his call for the fall.

“The task force and my leading recommendation to the board is to start 100% in virtual learning,” Gothard said.

He says distance learning will be improved from what it was in the spring.

“We’ve learned a lot over the summer, we’ve learned a lot with some of the activities that we’ve brought back in with very small ratios,” Gothard said.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District has also made their decision for school this fall. The announcement came Friday to go with a hybrid model where students will be in the classroom two days a week, and have virtual learning the other three days.

READ MORE: Anoka-Hennepin School District To Begin School Year With Hybrid Learning

WCCO also reached out the Osseo Area Schools district. As of right now, they’re taking their time to decide how to start the school year, but families will be deciding between a hybrid model or distance learning. If families choose distance learning, it will be a commitment to the whole school year.

Click here for a breakdown of their new Distance Learning Academy for K-12. 

The state says schools have to tell parents their plan for reopening at least a week before the start of school.