CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s high anxiety and uncertainty for thousands of Minnesota school kids and their families as they look forward to the first day of school.
Most schools, but not all, have mask mandates in some form, and St. Paul even has a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff. No matter where or when students start school, it will still look a little different.
In Chaska, the Larson family is looking forward to the first day of first grade. Mom Angie Larson said,
“We’re excited to be in-person school,” mom Angie Laron said.
What they are not looking forward to is the Chaska school district’s mask mandate.
“It’s hard to breathe with them,” 6-year-old Juliette Laron said.
Angie asked Juliette if there is anything she likes about masks. Juliette said, “No.”
Angie Larson says there is also a certain yuck factor for masks for kids this age.
“When she wears it for an hour or two it’s wet and soggy and you can’t tell me that a wet piece of cotton does much,” Angie Larson said.
Teachers and administrators also have a lot of questions as they look forward to the first day of school. One of the biggest questions: with the chaos of the last two years, how far behind are their students and how will they catch up?
St. Paul Superintendent Joe Gothard says schools will have to determine how far behind kids are.
“We have to look at each student individually and work with them and their families and their support network to see where they’re at with their learning,” he said.
After attending a meeting where pro-masking parents pled their case, Angie Larson says understanding is more important than it ever has been.
“We can all support each other, my child is going to mask, and I am going to encourage her to do it the right way and the responsible way. We can all work together because we gotta learn to live with COVID,” she said.
While most schools start Tuesday, St. Paul will delay its start until Thursday to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.