COVID-19 Updates

Governor Tim Walz and Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker have announced that all Minnesota public school districts and charter schools will implement a Distance Learning Period beginning on March 30, 2020, until at least April 30, 2020. Read Executive Order 20-19. The pair previously announced that all Minnesota public schools closed from March 18 through March 27, 2020, to allow districts and charter schools to develop distancing learning plans, which they will now begin implementing on March 30, 2020.

About COVID-19

Staff, parents and students may have questions and concerns about the novel (new) coronavirus outbreak, now called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with other state and local agencies to share information as it becomes available.

MDH has posted information on their website at Information For Schools, Colleges, and Universities on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Please share this information with your school administrators and health personnel, and ask them to share information with parents as they deem appropriate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted updated COVID-19-specific school preparedness/planning guidance on its website. Please also review CDC’s Pandemic Preparedness Resources for more information about what schools and other organizations can be doing to help protect our communities.

This is an evolving situation, so check back to the MDH Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website often for the latest information. For assistance with health-related questions about the coronavirus outbreak, email the Minnesota Department of Health.

Federal Title Programs Fiscal Waiver: Flexibilities for Existing Funding

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the availability of waivers to certain fiscal and programmatic requirements of some grant programs within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On April 8, 2020, Minnesota applied for this waiver, in order to support districts and charter schools in our response to the ongoing national emergency. This will help provide relief from some federal fiscal and programmatic requirements in existing grant programs for this federal fiscal year. Minnesota received approval of our waiver application on April 9, 2020. View Minnesota’s waiver.

Through these waivers, states will be able to: 

  • Approve a district or charter school to carry more than 15 percent of its Title I, Part A funds into next year, even if such a waiver has been granted in the previous three years.
  • Extend the period of availability of FY 2018 funds for programs included in the state’s consolidated ESSA State Plan to allow additional time to use those funds. 
  •  Permit a district, charter school, or consortium of districts to use Title IV, Part A funds to meet needs without regard to content-area spending requirements, spending limits on technology infrastructure, or completing a needs assessment.
  • Allow districts and schools to use professional development funds to conduct time-sensitive, one-time or stand-alone training focused on supporting educators in providing effective distance learning.

It is important to note that these flexibilities apply only to existing funds. Guidance for school districts and charter schools on these waivers will be published to here by the end of the day on Friday, April 10, 2020, and we will continue to add guidance as we learn more. New information is becoming available regularly and we will continue to keep this page updated.

Minnesota’s Federal Waiver Application is available for public review and comment. Open this survey to provide feedback. The public comment period closes at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020.

2019-20 Statewide Assessments

Minnesota has closed statewide assessments for the reminder of the 2019-2020 school year, including MCA and MTAS. The U.S. Department of Education has approved a waiver to Minnesota for the federally mandated standardized statewide assessments, accountability, and reporting requirements due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Learn more about the waiver issued by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Staying Updated

Check this page often to track school-related updates on the COVID-19 response. You can sign up to receive email notifications when this page is updated. We have also added sub pages to help organize the COVID-19 information. Find up-to-date program guidance on these topics in the left navigation, or use the links provided below:

 Guidance for Districts and Schools