MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Reflecting the anxiety so many Minnesotans are feeling right now, Gov. Tim Walz was holding a news conference on COVID-19 relief when a middle school teacher shouted at him on Thursday. Walz was just being introduced when he was interrupted.

“I am a teacher and I am scared will you to talk to me for two minutes,” teacher Ellen Gurrola said.

The governor’s press secretary signaled the governor would talk after, but Walz actually peeled off from the news conference to meet with Gurrola, who tearfully said her husband is a St. Paul firefighter and she is worried about child care.

“My mother in law is going to have to watch him and I am getting scared,” she said. “I am finding out everything that parents are finding out. Principals don’t even know, and I don’t know what to do.”

Gurrola teaches middle school in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, and says teachers are the last to get information.

“Teachers also need to advocate for ourselves and our students,” she told reporters. “We feel like we have become the enemy when asking for safe return, that all we want, we just want to come in safe, we want air ventilation, we want cleaning supplies, we want kids to be able to social distance.”

Walz said, “I am under no illusion. This is going to be hard. This is going to be unlike a first day of school that we have ever seen.”

Walz will continue his school talk tonight when he will part of a virtual town hall tonight with St. Paul School Superintendent Joe Gothard.

Esme Murphy

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