The latest report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reveals that all schools are safe to reopen for in-person learning models, according to county case numbers. The MDH released this information as part of an updated report published every Thursday.
According to Gov. Tim Walz’s “Safe Learning Plan” issued at the beginning of this month, schools will determine if they can sustain an in-person learning model by the number of new coronavirus cases per 10,000 people in their county over a 14 day period.
High school in-person learning models are an option for 29 or less cases; elementary school in-person learning models are an option for 49 or less cases.
According to the MDH’s latest report, over 88 percent of counties have 19 or less cases, compared to 29 or less cases in 11 percent of counties. Overall case rates per county have been steadily falling since mid-July.
The day before MDH published its latest report, the state recorded its highest single-day death total in over two months. All 17 deaths were those over the age of 60, and about half were in long-term care facilities. In response to this news, state health officials remarked that parents aren’t testing their children for fear of losing out on in-person schooling.
“We’re hearing troubling reports of some parents who want to have in-person learning so badly that they are deciding not to get symptomatic children tested for COVID,” said Minnesota’s epidemiologist, Dr. Ruth Lynfield. “[They’re] thinking that if their child is confirmed to have COVID, it will impact the metrics to determine whether a school opens to in-person learning.”
Health officials later admitted that these reports were sourceless and “mostly anecdotal.” Even so, Lynfield argued that citizens should still take these rumors seriously, and encouraged families to get testing and to self-quarantine if they’re feeling ill.
“I really think people need to respect the virus, and I think people should be alarmed at the amount of community transmission we now have.”
Many elementary and high schools are scheduled to begin their fall semesters in several weeks time.
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This article was republished with permission from The Minnesota Sun.