Online Learning Providers

Online Learning Provider Approval Process
State law (Minn. Stat. § 124D.095) requires the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to “review and approve” schools that deliver online instruction. These schools are required to become an approved online learning (OLL) provider. Only MDE-approved OLL providers generate funding.

Approved Program Criteria
The process for becoming an approved provider is initiated by the Minnesota public school provider (public school districts, intermediate districts, school districts operating under a Joint Powers of Agreement (JPA)), and charter schools that provide online learning.

Online and Blended Learning Options for the 2021-22 School Year
During the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, Minnesota public schools were required to offer a distance learning option for families. The peacetime emergency has ended, but many school districts and charter schools would like to continue offering these options for their students and families. MDE has created a provisional, expedited approval process for online and blended learning so that districts and schools can continue to meet the needs of all students and families. Online and blended learning may be offered for students and families but student participation cannot be required. In the 2021-22 school year, schools that are not already approved online learning providers may choose to offer to their resident and previously-enrolled students:

  1. Blended learning where students learn primarily in the building but receive instruction online for up to 20% of their weekly schedule. There is no requirement to notify MDE if providing this option.
  2. Blended learning where students learn primarily in the building but receive instruction online for 21% to 50% of their weekly schedule. Districts and charter schools must notify and submit program information to MDE for this option.
  3. Blended learning where students receive instruction online for more than 50% of their weekly schedule. Districts and charter schools must apply for provisional approval as an online learning provider.
  4. Online learning where students learn fully online away from a school building for one or more courses. Districts and charter schools must apply for provisional approval as an online learning provider.
In order to offer these options, districts and schools must agree to assurances that include statutory requirements and best practices such as communication with families, teacher schedules and workloads, and other key elements to ensure quality and equity-focused programs.

School districts may only offer the above options to families and students, they cannot require families and students to opt-in to a blended or online learning option. To learn more about these options, including application information, read the full Online and Blending Learning Options for the 2021-22 School Year document.