St. Louis Park Public Schools announce school closure March 17 through March 27

Park schools will plan for technology options

Art+by+Maggie+Klaers.+The+St.+Louis+Park+Public+Schools+announced+Park+will+close+beginning+March+17+and+the+closure+will+roll+into+spring+break.

Maggie Klaers

Art by Maggie Klaers. The St. Louis Park Public Schools announced Park will close beginning March 17 and the closure will roll into spring break.

This story is updated as of 11:30 a.m. March 15.

In a phone blast, St. Louis Park Public Schools announced schools will stay open March 16 for students and teachers to prepare for the closure which will begin March 17. Teachers and staff will report to school March 17 to prepare for distance learning. 

“We value connectedness in a time of isolation. The St. Louis Park Public Schools’ mission is to energize and enhance the spirit. It is paramount that we all work together at this time to ensure the greater health of our community,” the call said.

According to the message, all after-school athletics and clubs will be canceled indefinitely and students will not be academically penalized if they stay home March 16.

Earlier March 15, Governor Tim Walz announced the closure of all Minnesota schools by March 18.

“We cannot wait until the pandemic is in our schools to figure things out. That’s why Executive Order 20-02 that I just signed will begin the process of closing our schools,” Walz said. “Schools will be closed by Wednesday, through March 27, this time period is to allow our school districts to adapt to prepare for additional learning.”

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota has increased from 21 to 35 between March 14 and March 15, according to Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcom. 

“It would be naive of us to think we’re not going to have community spread,” Malcom said. “Of the now up to 35 cases we’ve seen, there are not major clusters anywhere. The demographics are spread out”

Mary Cathryn Ricker, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, said it is still unclear what will happen to standardized testing later in the year, but state officials will continue to update the public as they learn more.

“We’ve also been in communication with International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement testing companies to also determine what their plans are,” Ricker said. “As we continue to get more information, we’re going to continue to share it.”

Schools will be closed for at least 20 days as the mandated closure rolls into spring break, according to the call.