Educators expect rise in COVID-19 cases as students return

Published 10:46 am Monday, January 3, 2022

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s educators are bracing for what they expect will be a spike in coronavirus cases after students return to their classrooms on Monday.

“What I’ve heard from superintendents is that they are nervous about omicron,“ said Bob Indihar, the executive director of the Minnesota Rural Education Association. “It seems to be the new normal that changes are going to happen and quarantines and people being out are just part of the process now. Districts are kind of taking it in stride.”

In Roseville, schools have been closed for 16 consecutive days over the winter holidays.

“From a public health standpoint, we were hoping it would sort of mitigate that spread we were starting to see in the community,” said Roseville Area Schools communications director Josh Collins. “Also our staff has just been super, super taxed and stressed. We hoped it would give some relief for mental health and wellness going into the break.”

Collins said the district will be doing what it can to keep students learning in person now that they are returning to the classroom, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Leaders have encouraged families to get their students tested for COVID-19 and vaccinated before returning to classes in January.

Close to 60 percent of Roseville public school students had already received their vaccinations in December, according to the district.