Updated: May 21, 2020 10:51 PM
Created: May 21, 2020 07:26 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- School districts across southeast Minnesota are waiting for guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education as they prepare for the fall.
Department of Education Commissioner Mary Ricker says as they plan ahead, there are some major takeaways they have learned. "One of the reflective points is that we saw the gaps and divides that were already present in our school communities, we saw those replicate themselves in the distance learning setting," said Ricker.
Ricker referenced the struggles with access to the internet and the impact of the virus in communities of color. She says they will continue to communicate with district leaders, principals, and teachers to better address the needs of individual communities.
MDE have put out a summer school guidance for schools to offer a hybrid model of in-person teaching and distance learning.
Both Rochester and Austin have a number of schools that follow the 45-15 balanced calendar, meaning those schools start the new school year in July.
"With this experience and with the fact that educators now have a body of experience where they can reflect on, I do feel very strongly that next fall we are just all going to go in better informed than we were this March," said Ricker, "the health and safety of our students is our top priority."
Commissioner Ricker says they will continue to monitor the virus and work with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine if students can return to school the fall.
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