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Northland school districts react to Gov. Walz’s back-to-school plans

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DULUTH, MN-- The first day of school will be one for the history books this year.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz shared plans Thursday on what the school year will look like.

The Hibbing School District had been planning for today's announcement since they started distance learning.

"This is something we've been working on for months. Literally, since it started back in March," said Superintendent Richard Aldrich.

Whether school is in-person will be based on data and requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health and Education.

"It's all based on the number of positive, a 14 day average of positive cases in the county that your district resides in," explained Aldrich.

Based on the most recent data for the Hibbing and Duluth Public School districts, students could be heading back into the classroom.

However, the Duluth Public Schools aren't ready to make that decision

"We have to consider what that means from a safety perspective," said new Superintendent John Magas. "We need to look at the new criteria and really have that conversation with our stakeholders."

On the Iron Range, Aldrich said if data stays the same, students there will likely be in school on the first day.

"That's exciting for kids and parents, and everybody," said Aldrich. "But what comes along with it is that huge responsibility that we have to come back and keep students and staff safe."

Safety precautions are being put in place in both districts, including cleaning protocol.

Both superintendents know plans could change quickly.

"We have to be ready if something occurs with an outbreak at a particular school or exposure in a particular area or if our cases go up dramatically," said Magas.

Governor Walz is making it an option statewide if students or teachers are at a higher risk of infection, they can work or learn remotely.

Both superintendents said they fully support that choice.

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Emma Quinn

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