MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan are calling on the Minnesota Senate to pass a summer learning package in the state’s COVID-19 budget, a plan that they say will help students catch up after pandemic-related disruptions.

On Tuesday, Walz in a press conference addressed the $150 million summer learning package, which was passed by the Minnesota House in March.

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“After a challenging year for students, I’m glad that the Minnesota House passed our education plan to help kids catch up on learning this summer,” Walz said. “With the end of the school year quickly approaching, the Minnesota Senate must finish the job and pass the summer learning plan to ensure our students are ready to conquer the school year in the fall.”

According to state officials, the plan addresses opportunity gaps and expands summer learning opportunities.

“We must take immediate action to help our students make up for the lost in-person learning that so many experienced over the last year,” Flanagan said. “With proposals for hands-on learning opportunities, mental health supports, summer preschool, college courses for graduating seniors, and more, the summer learning plan does just that.”

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The governor’s summer learning package includes:

– Expanding summer 2021 programming
– Expanding summer 2021 preschool for 4- and 5-year-olds
– Expanding mental health support in schools
– Support for field trips and hands-on learning
– Accounting for pandemic enrollment loss

More details on the summer learning plan can be found here.

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During the press conference, Walz said he’d be giving an update on reopening the state Thursday and that summer could look “very normal.”