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Video: Minnesotans prepare to finish the school year with distance learning

Apr 24, 2020 05:55AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Brandon Weathers of WDIO-TV - April 24, 2020

When Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered schools to close on March 18th, students cleaned out their lockers as schools prepared to not return for the academic year. A little more than a month later, Walz announced those lockers will officially remain empty until the fall.

Michigan and Wisconsin had already extended distance learning through the remainder of the school year, so Walz's announcement was anticipated by many Minnesotans.

Duluth Public Schools superintendent Bill Gronseth said, "We have been expecting this. It's certainly good to have the announcement come out. It gives us the notice that we need to really make some decisions and planning for the rest of the school year."

Though the announcement didn't come as a surprise, it still struck a chord with the class of 2020.

Nashwauk-Keewatin High School senior Violet Briski said, "Senior year, that's a big milestone. So it's hard to handle that and to know that I'm not going to be able to experience what every other senior has experienced."

The extension of distance learning means that schools and families continue to navigate accessibility hurdles.

Gronseth said, "From our estimates, we had about 1500 students that didn't have devices, and we were able to get devices to people who did need them, we have about that many students without internet still."

For some students who are equipped with the proper resources and already adjusted to their new normal, the extension makes little difference.

Hermantown Middle School 7th grader Trent Paasch said, "I think every kid is going to react to it differently, but I get to spend time with my family at home, and I get to work at my own pace, which I really like."

Trent's mother Brittany Paasch said, "We're more concerned that he's not gonna want to go back because he's getting his schoolwork done at a pretty decent time and gets to do whatever the rest of the day."

With just over a month of this academic year remaining for most, schools continue to work toward meeting every student's needs. Gronseth said, "I am proud to be here standing side by side with people as we face this uncertain time."

Gronseth said Duluth Public Schools continue to work on ways to do typical end of the year events virtually.

To read the original story and see related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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