By Jeff Wagner

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From parents to school staff, emotions often felt the night before the first day of school have returned in late March.

John Marino is a parent to an eighth grader at South View Middle School in Edina.

“We have a little anxiety in the house,” Marino said.

Lindsey Bosch is a mother of three elementary school-aged kids from Clara City.

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“I’m actually excited,” Bosch said.

On Monday, March 30, Minnesota students and their teachers will begin distance learning. Earlier in the month, Gov. Tim Walz gave the order to temporarily close schools to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For roughly two weeks, students had what felt like an extended spring break. Even though they will still be at home, class is about to begin.

Cory McIntyre, superintendent of Osseo Area Schools, says everyone is itching to get connected again.

“We’re kind of creating new patterns, new routines,” McIntyre said.

His district and many others will rely on Schoology as their digital classroom, an online program where students will find and complete assignments. It also allows them to directly interact with their teachers by video and text.

A home classroom set-up (credit: CBS)

“We’re making sure that as many students as possible have access to technology [like Google Chromebooks], but for those who don’t we provided [lessons] in print form. So we’re delivering hard-copy materials for those who need it and their families,” McIntyre said.

His three daughters have their own designated work area at home, something other families have created to foster a school-like environment and mindset.

Bosch’s kitchen table is now a giant desk for her three kids. Nearby, she created a shelf area to keep their supplies and assignments organized.

“Instead of waking up in the morning and being in our pajamas until 9 a.m., we’re gonna have to get up and start doing our school work instead,” Bosch said.

Some of that will be online, while other will be traditional worksheets. She said she’s still figuring out how her kids homework will be submitted.

Another concern for parents is not having a teacher present with the students.

“I think that would be the biggest adjustment this week is really trying to figure out the communication … If you do have questions regarding the homework, how available are [the teachers]?” Marino said.

But he’s thankful that his son’s school administrators have been quick to communicate with families.

“The principal has emailed us many times about each day, how the structure of the day will work, when will teachers be available for questions,” he said. “We’re just gonna take it one day at a time.”

From the school work itself to the virtual classroom, all sides acknowledge there’s much to be learned.

“It’s gonna take all of us in partnership to make this successful,” McIntyre said.

If parents are wondering how to help, Superintendent McIntyre said try to create a consistent schedule or routine for your kids. He added parents shouldn’t hesitate to contact teachers or the school if they are having issues.

Distance learning is scheduled to last through at least April 30.

Jeff Wagner