ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota Department of Education has released their COVID-19 recommendations as the new school year approaches.

As the state continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant, MDE is suggesting school districts follow the CDC's guidance in COVID prevention.

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Minnesota Department of Health Commission Jan Malcolm says while there are no mandates schools need to follow, the basic tools to fight COVID-19 remain the same.

Given the ongoing pandemic challenge at hand, and the importance of giving our students the best opportunity for in person learning, we really need to use all the tools available to us to prevent the spread.

Some of the specific points include:

  • all people 12 and older get vaccinated
  • students, teachers, staff and visitors in school buildings should wear a mask
  • maintain at least a three foot distance between students in the classroom
  • stay home when sick
  • get tested regularly if not fully vaccinated.

MDE says students, teachers and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to stay home even if they have had close contact with a confirmed case as long as they do not test positive.

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller says these recommendations are designed to help school leaders as they make decisions.

Over the course of the pandemic we've seen just how different the situation can look from community to community and these recommendations build on the targeted approaches that we've taken over the past year.

Mueller says while masking for students is recommended, it will be up to each school district to decided if they want to issue a masking policy.

Malcom says as of right now their guidance only covers K-12 education. Further guidance on early childhood and higher education will be discussed if and when the CDC provides those recommendations.

The Sartell-St. Stephen school district says they don't plan to make a decision regarding the CDC's best practice recommendations until their August 9th board meeting.

Tami Deland with District 742 says they are monitoring closely the guidance from the state and federal health officials. We expect to share our plan with the school board and school community on August 18th.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says the only requirement at this time is in regards to transportation. All students who ride on buses will need to wear face coverings as this is a federal mandate. Our current Safe Learning Plan has face coverings as an option for both staff and students to wear except on transportation, practicing social distancing to the extent possible, and encouraging good hygiene. This is where we are at today and as we learned last year, things can and do change.


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