Sunday morning, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that he'd signed an executive order to temporarily close K-12 schools to students by Wednesday, March 18.
The closure will last through March 27 and is meant to allow districts to make long-term plans between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health.
“My top priority as Governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children,” said Governor Walz. “I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids regardless of what’s to come.”
Locally, information is still coming with how East Central Minn. districts are going to handle the timeline.
Pine City Public Schools will run its normal school day schedule on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. From Wednesday through Friday this week, their staff will be developing distance-learning materials for future use. March 23-27 they will be on scheduled Spring Break.
Mora Public Schools will run its normal school day schedule on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. They will be closed starting on Wednesday with plans to resume on March 30th.
Braham Area Schools will be in session on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 & 17. This will include activities and athletic practice. Beginning Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, March 27, Braham Area Schools (and all school activities) will close for students. This closure is primarily for purposes of planning.
East Central Schools will have school Monday and Tuesday this week. There will be no school beginning Wednesday and next week is spring break.
Chisago Lakes Schools had already planned on closing all of tomorrow, March 16.
Forest Lake Area Schools has announced that they will be closing March 16 and reopening on Wednesday, April 1.
North Branch Area Public Schools will have classes on Monday and Tuesday. According to a message from the district:
"On both March 16 & 17, students should bring home all items out of their lockers they may need during these next two weeks that includes digital devices, power cords, notebooks, textbooks, clothing and so on. According to the Governor’s Executive Order, all schools must be closed to students from March 18 through March 27. Do not expect to send your student to school to get any items after the close of the school day on March 17. They will not be allowed into the building."
Other school and event closures:
Pine Technical and Community College announced Friday that they will be extending spring break through March 30, and classes will resume via a distance model.
Pine County has canceled the Chronic Wasting Disease townhall meeting for March 18.
The Pine City Heritage Players have postponed the performance dates of March 19-22, 2020 for "The Odd Couple".
We will update this article as more information becomes available.