Like other public school districts across the state, the Detroit Lakes School District is in the midst of planning for three possible back-to-school scenarios in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It'll be about another month before families know for sure which scenario will become reality.

The Minnesota departments of education and health shared planning guidelines for districts in mid-June, with the expectation that the pandemic will still be circulating this fall, as the new school year begins. The guidelines direct districts to plan for three possibilities:

  1. Schools will fully reopen. There would still be some new social distancing rules in place under this option. The Detroit Lakes School District, in a June 24 Facebook post, said, “We would have floor markings in reception areas and allow more physical spaces between passengers in transportation vehicles.” In addition, the district “would restrict non-essential visitors, volunteers and activities from school buildings.”

  2. Schools will partially reopen, offering a mix of distance learning and classroom time. Under this hybrid option, the number of students in the schools and transportation vehicles would be limited, as students would be alternating their time between face-to-face learning and remote schooling from home, with different students attending school at different times.

  3. Schools will remain closed. In this case, students would do distance learning from home again, similar to what was done at the end of last school year.

District staff are spending a few weeks working through the logistics of each plan. Gov. Tim Walz will decide during the week of July 27 which of the three plans will be implemented by school districts, and the Detroit Lakes School District will communicate its plan to families in early August.

Schools may choose a more restrictive plan than the Governor establishes, but not a less restrictive one.

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“Thank you to all of you for everything you have done to support students and each other throughout the past few months,” states the Detroit Lakes district's Facebook post. “This has been an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we know that everyone has made many sacrifices to support the learning and mental health of our students.”

Parents of students who attended public school last fall are invited to participate in a Minnesota Department of Education survey about distance learning and planning for this coming fall. For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Education website, or the Detroit Lakes Public Schools website.