Minnesota Schools to Close; COVID-19 Cases Rise
Minnesota schools will close by Wednesday and remain closed through March 27, Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday morning. At the same time, the governor said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota has jumped to 35.
Some districts will close sooner. St. Paul schools will be closed Monday; Minneapolis Public Schools will be open Monday to prepare for at home learning and closed beginning Tuesday.
The governor’s order, which applies to charter and public schools, will be reevaluated after the eight day period ending March 27. “We are not accommodating for a couple of snow days; we are planning for the potential for weeks of distance learning,” said state education commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker.
“This will have a ripple effect on families across Minnesota,” he acknowledged, while calling Minnesota’s plan the most comprehensive in the country. That includes asking state agencies to provide childcare for the children of health care and emergency responders and asking the legislature for emergency assistance for workers who do not receive sick time through employers.
Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove urged businesses to reduce employee hours rather than letting workers go. Information for employers and employees is available here.
The state will continue to provide updates here.
Other business updates on Sunday related to the pandemic:
- Overwhelmed by call volume, Sun Country announced that flights through April 15 could be changed online with no penalties. Same is true of Delta where call volumes are high and most tickets can be changed without penalty online.
- Despite empty shelves at many grocery and big box stores, the nation’s largest retailers, dairy farmers, and meat producers say the food supply chain remains intact and there is plenty of food in the country, the New York Times reports.