COVID-19 coronavirus has been causing some disappointing cancellations here locally. It started with going to 3 different stores to find toilet paper last Thursday, then to the Downtown St. Cloud’s  St. Patty’s Parade canceling along with other things like: concerts, church services and now it’s gone as far as school cancellation.  It has me wondering what’s next.

There has a lot of rearranging schedules at our house. We are now paying for two kids with our nanny than just one.  We had to tell our kids Disney World and Universal Studios was not going to be possible over spring break and now we are wondering if we are even going to Florida at all. This is crazy. I guess we are all just taking it one day at a time.

Here are some frequently asked questions and what you need to know. Here's what you need to know about the order.


When will schools be closed?

The order takes effect Wednesday, March 18, though some districts are closing sooner.


Why are schools closing?

Administrators and educators need to "make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic." They'll be looking into distance learning options and methods for ensuring children who rely on free and reduced lunch get enough to eat.

Why is the state allowing some schools to wait until Wednesday?

Officials said the delay is meant to provide flexibility for schools and parents, given the short notice. "Some kids need to get back into school on Monday to get things that they need," Walz said.

Could the closures be extended?

It's possible. Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said state officials will re-evaluate the plan after the eight-day period is over. One of the goals of the temporary closure is to give educators and administrators time to plan for what comes next. "We are not accommodating for a couple snow days, we are planning for the potential for weeks of distance learning," Ricker said.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. The executive or requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders and other emergency workers during previously planned school days. The order directs districts to provide on-site care for enrolled children of emergency workers who are age 12 or younger. The order encourages districts to provide extended care before and after school hours if possible.

Will additional child care options be available for everyone else?

The governor has asked state agencies to work to help child care providers in the state handle an anticipated increase in demand. The executive order directs the Department of Human Services to submit a proposal by March 20 addressing strategies for supporting child care providers and ensuring continuity of care. The administration is also urging legislators to take action, including emergency assistance for struggling families and paid leave for workers who do not receive sick time through their job.

Will teachers and other school employees be paid during this break and if school closures are extended?

Paying staff during the break is strongly encouraged, Ricker said. School employees are expected to work during the temporary closures and use the time to plan. The commissioner said the administration expects that districts continue to pay staff, including bus drivers and hourly workers, and that those employees are "incorporated into our state's distance learning plans." Bus drivers, for example, could be involved in delivering lunches or school materials, she said.

Where can I get answers to other questions or concerns?

There is a  hotline for school and child care questions. The number for that hotline is 651-297-1304.

For other tips and information that is helpful Click Here. I hope this all gets resolved soon.

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This is putting a lot of stress on the parents I have spoke to and just wondering how bad this is going to get before it gets better.

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