by Mike Knaak
Schools in Sartell, St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids districts and Catholic Community Schools will close for all students starting Monday, March 16, school leaders announced Sunday, March 15.
Unlike public schools, the Catholic schools will use distance learning. Cathedral High School will start on Wednesday, March 18, and all but one elementary schools will start distance learning in Monday, March 23. St Francis Xavier in Sartell will not participate because the school will be on break.
Earlier Sunday, Gov. Tim Walz ordered all K-12 public schools closed no later than Wednesday, March 18, through Friday, March 27, to make plans for continuing education and services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the shutdown, school staff, teachers and administrators, with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health should plan safety measures.
The governor’s order requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responder and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against Covid-19 can stay on the job.
The Executive Order also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need.