WTIP file photo

Cook County schools to stay closed for remainder of academic year

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday ordered Minnesota schools to stay closed through the rest of the academic year amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Walz, who is a former teacher, calls it “a heartbreaking decision.” The Democratic governor says he feels sorry for all the students who will miss out on graduations, tournaments and end of year celebrations. But Walz says the health and safety of Minnesotans is his top priority, so distance learning will continue through the end of this school year.

“While I recognize distance learning is a challenge for many families, it is critical to social distancing in Minnesota and supports the health of Minnesota’s families. We will continue looking for ways to improve the current system and better support our children,” Walz said in a statement.

The governor closed public and charter schools just over a month ago and directed them to switch to distance learning, affecting nearly 900,000 students and their families. His order had been due to expire next Thursday, but he had said in recent days that he was likely to extend the shutdown through the rest of the school year.

For more on distance learning at ISD 166, click here.

And click below to hear WTIP’s Rhonda Silence speaking with School District 166 Dr. Bill Crandall just before the governor’s announcement. Silence and Crandall talked about how distance learning–and distance school board meetings are going; about how school funding is calculated during this time; about the school/Cook County YMCA partnership and more.