Republicans say Governor Tim Walz’s COVID guidance for school districts this fall is yet another set of statewide mandates.   Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says local officials should decide whether to resume classroom learning and the governor should not be able to “unilaterally direct schools back to distance learning.” Walz responds his plan…

“It’s not perfect. I wish there was a way that I could tell you, yep, this is gonna happen. When people say, open schools, that’s not a plan — that’s a slogan. We all believe we need to get our students back there.”

Walz says state and school district officials will work together to reach a decision. Republicans warn the administration has the power to disregard school districts’ wishes.

Rochester Senator Carla Nelson:

“I don’t know any school district that would choose to disregard the science, nor do I know any parent who would send their child to a school if they felt it was not safe.”

The governor responds COVID case guidance in his plan for school districts is *not* drawn in stone:

“May be a situation like we saw in Marshall and we saw in Austin, where it (COVID outbreak) was tied to a business that was a place where we could get a handle on it and get (it under control) relatively quickly. We could still in theory be able to operate our schools in that (situation).

Governor Tim Walz says to Minnesotans as the new school year approaches:

“The one thing that each and every one of you can do to give that incredible gift of as normal of… an education as possible to our children is, do the simple things of wearing the mask and social distance and wash your hands.”

Education Minnesota teachers union President Denise Specht says she appreciates high standards in the governor’s plan for looking at COVID cases out in the community — but also preventive measures inside school buildings:

…”Taking a look at the ventilation. Are there enough custodial staff to clean properly?   What do the class sizes look like?   How big are the classrooms and can we space students out?”