Walz orders Minnesota public schools to close

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Sunday authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, March 27, for planning among staff, teachers and administrators with guidance. According to the order the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will provide guidance

“My top priority as governor is the safety of Minnesotans,” Walz said. “As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children.”

Feeding children affected by school closures and providing care for the children of health-care workers and first responders has been a concern for Walz as other states face challenges when essential workers have to find care for their children during the pandemic. Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders and other emergency workers. The order also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need.

“We applaud [the governor’s] consideration of healthcare workers with school age children and those who still may not have enough sick time to stay home with their children,” tweeted the Minnesota Nurses Association.

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