ST. PAUL, MN -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Thursday that he's leaving individual school districts to come up with their own plans on how to start their school years this fall.
"School districts and charter schools will begin in one of three models: in-person, distance learning, or a hybrid model. Experts at the Departments of Health and Education will partner with local school districts and charter schools to help determine which learning model they should use to start the school year," Walz said.
According to Walz's office, this decision-making process centers on "the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families by using the level of viral activity in the surrounding county and other factors such as the district's ability to meet mitigation requirements."
The learning model decision will be announced by the local school district.
Walz said it is possible school districts will shift between models throughout the school year based on the current COVID-19 situation.
The Governor is also requiring school districts and charter schools to give families the option to choose distance learning for their student no matter which learning model their school district is implementing.
Walz is requiring school districts to allow teachers and school employees to work remotely to the extent possible.
Walz is investing more than $430 million in federal funding to help schools, educators, students, and families.
Funding comes from the Governor's Education Emergency Relief, Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief, and the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Walz provided $180 million through the summer to improve distance learning and fund summer learning programs.
Walz announced an additional $250 million of support that will: provide face coverings for every student, educator, and staff member, deploy a comprehensive COVID testing plan for educators and staff members, help cover operational costs, like cleaning supplies, transportation, technology needs, and Wi-Fi access, boost student, family, and educator support, like digital navigation trainings, tutors, translation services, mental health support, and professional development.
Walz, along with other state health and education leaders, told school district leaders earlier this year to prepare for three different learning scenarios this fall: in-person, online, or a hybrid of the two.
Click here for more on Minnesota school year plan.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
We'll have more details and reaction from local school districts tonight on the news at 5 and 6 p.m.