Created: January 14, 2021 11:17 PM
(ABC 6 News) - State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) has introduced a bill to protect students’ right to a great education at all times.
The new legislation, Senate File 2, removes any governor’s authority to close schools or alter school schedules via executive order. Decisions about opening and closing will be left in the hands of individual school districts moving forward, where local officials have firsthand knowledge of their students’ needs.
“We have to think about what is best for students above all. At this point in the pandemic, there is widespread agreement about the importance of getting students back into the classroom,” said Sen. Nelson. “Our 300 school districts and 100 charter schools are diverse in every way; each district has unique needs and circumstances. The decision on how and when to reopen should not be made from the governor’s office. It should come from local school boards and community leaders. They are the ones who know what is best for their students. They should be given the option to decide how and when to open their schools.”
The bill says the governor may not use executive order authority to issue any order or to authorize the commissioner of education to alter school schedules, curtail school activities, or order schools closed.
Gov. Walz’s executive orders closing schools have been among his most questioned and controversial orders of the outbreak.
There is mounting evidence that schools pose minimal risk in spreading the coronavirus, including a Reuters report that studied 191 countries found no clear link between school reopenings and coronavirus surges. In addition, Axios looked at several studies and found schools are not Covid hotspots, and the Atlantic Magazine wrote that kids are not superspreaders. The New York Times reported on evidence that schools, especially elementary schools, are not “stoking community transmission.”
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