Special Report

Every State's Plan to Reopen Schools in the Fall

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The new academic year has been postponed for two weeks and will be cut to 170 days from 180. All schools must resume classes in-person, online, or a hybrid of the two by Sept. 16, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

During in-person instruction, elementary schools should keep students in the same group throughout the day. Middle and high schools do not have to but are urged to minimize mixing student groups as much as possible. All students in second grade or older are required to wear a face covering, and those who are younger are encouraged to wear a mask or a face shield. There is no maximum number for class size, as long as students can be at least 6 feet apart. Temperature checks are not recommended because of the possibility of false positive and false negative results.

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Michigan has released a roadmap, issued by an executive order, to reopen schools in the fall. It’s very likely that plans to reopen may be jeopardized due to a surge of coronavirus cases in the state, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The guide sets minimum health and safety requirements that apply to all schools, including public, charter, private, and parochial schools. Districts can enact more aggressive rules.

Schools must close if their region is in an area with the highest risk of COVID-19. Athletics, after-school activities, and inter-school activities like debate competitions will not be allowed, and online classes must be available. When schools open, face masks will be required, except during meals and unless they cannot be medically tolerated. All desks should be facing the same direction toward the front of the classroom and should be at least 6 feet apart.

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Minnesota’s health and safety guidelines require school officials to create three different contingency plans based on three possible scenarios for the outbreak in the state — in-person learning for all students, hybrid learning, and remote learning.

In-person learning for all will involve creating as much space between students and teachers as possible. Extracurricular programming will be allowed if the COVID-19 Sports Guidance for Youth and Adults is followed. In case of hybrid learning, schools must limit the overall number of people in the building and on school buses to 50% maximum occupancy or less if students and staff cannot always be at least 6 feet from one another.

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Schools will reopen throughout Mississippi in the fall. School districts have started to release their own reopening plans, which include in-person classes with parents having the option to enroll their kids in online classes.

Superintendents’ guidelines will be updated every three months. As long as students, teachers, and staff can maintain at least 6 feet physical distance, they can be physically present in school. Daily temperature checks and limiting students movement and gatherings is strongly encouraged.

A hybrid reopening is also an option. Students can be split into two groups that come to school on alternating days and study online when not physically in school. The guidelines also have the option for elementary students to be in school for in-person instruction, while students in higher grades complete their schoolwork entirely online.

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Not all schools in Missouri may reopen in September. The state’s DOE allows every school district to decide when to resume classes for the new academic year. Some can even start before the end of August.

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines for reopening schools across Missouri include recommendations for health screenings, physical distancing, and face coverings.

The Missouri School Boards Association’s guide for reopening schools during the pandemic suggests schools alternate days to minimize the number of students in the school building, limit extracurricular activities, and cancel sports that bring many people together. Minimizing class sizes, moving classrooms outdoors, and requiring students to remain seated in assigned seats at all times are other recommendations.

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