By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Edina Public Schools announced on Wednesday afternoon they’ll being moving to a hybrid learning model for middle and high school students in mid-February. Elementary students are already slated to be back in class full time later this month.

This comes after a group of more than 700 Edina parents formed Edina Parents 4 Progress to push the Edina School Board to allow full return to in-person learning for middle and high school students (6th – 12th grade).

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“We all kind of found each other. It’s been totally grassroots and organic, led by parents who are just trying to advocate for their kids,” said Jeff Northrup, a parent to a sophomore and senior at Edina High School and member of Edina Parents 4 Progress.

Northrup is concerned for his two daughters’ development and socialization since the district moved to full distance learning in November.

“My kids are suffering, really, I don’t know how else to put it,” said Northrup, “My kids are in general malaise, lack engagement, loneliness, lack community, lack social interactions.”

Northrup says the school board decision to allow hybrid learning for the older students isn’t enough. Their group wants five days of in-person learning, and some say they’re ready to move if it doesn’t happen soon.

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“I think a lot of parents are looking at private school options. I know more than several families that are considering moving out of the state at this point,” said Northrup.

As a family that’s had a generational loyalty to Edina Schools, Northrup says leaving the district would be an absolute last resort.

“I’m choosing to put myself out there and fight for my kids,” said Northrup.

This grassroots parents movement puts a heavy amount of blame on the teachers union for continued distance learning.

Education Minnesota, Edina President Tom Connell said in a statement to WCCO:

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All educators want to be back in person, teaching and learning with their students, but not until we can do it safely for students, educators and communities. We will be working with the district to make sure that our plans follow the science, the guidelines of public health officials and the state’s safe learning plan.

Marielle Mohs