By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced his long-awaited plan for the school year Thursday. The decision impacts thousands of students, teachers and families.

WCCO’s Marielle Mohs spoke to parents and superintendents to get their reactions to the governor’s plan.

“It’s just time to get back to school,” parent Ernie Freidrichs said.

Ernie Freidrichs has twins going into 6th grade at Eden Prairie Public schools. He says distant learning is not an option for his family.

“I still gotta work when I am at home and I don’t have time to teach him or my daughter,” Freidrichs said.

Alyssa Golob has two special needs kids going to Bloomington schools. She says in-person learning is vital for her children.

“They need to be with staff who have the ability to help shape them and take care of those special needs in a way that we can’t at home as their parents,” Golob said.

“His announcement was not a surprise to me or superintendents around the state,” Dr. Dan Bittman said.

School districts have been planning for the next school year well before Thursday’s announcement.

Doctor Dan Bittman is the superintendent of ISD 728 — the 8th largest school district in the state – serving students in Elk River Otsego and Zimmerman.

He’s thankful the Governor’s plan allows flexibility.

“We can personalize that based on real data and information on the number of COVID cases in any area, as opposed to a one size fits all,” Dr. Bittman said.

Doctor Bittman says they will allow any student to stick with distance learning if they’d prefer it.

Over at Anoka Hennepin School district, Superintendent David Law says he likes the flexibility too, but only for the older students.

“We would be open at the elementary completely and we would be in a blended model for secondary based on the number of counts in Anoka County going back two weeks,” Law said.

Dr. Bittman said parents can expect a survey via email within the next 24 hours asking them if they want to do in-person or distance learning — something many districts will be doing to communicate with families.

Law says parents will get more specific decisions their district is making in the next few days.

Marielle Mohs