Minneapolis's public school system announced on Friday that it will go back to 100 percent remote learning on Wednesday in a pre-emptive move. This is because authorities are anticipating widespread unrest after Derek Chauvin's trial.
This is despite the fact that middle-school students were slated to just go back to in-person learning on Monday after a long absence from the classroom.
The jury will begin their deliberation on Monday for Chauvin's trial for the alleged murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. By Wednesday are expected to deliver a verdict.
Ed Graff, the Superintendent of Schools for Minneapolis, released the following statement on the front page of the Minneapolis Public Schools website:
"On Monday and Tuesday (April 19-20), in-person learning will continue for all grades with corresponding transportation to and from school. Sixth graders in most schools will be welcomed on Monday, and grades 7 and 8 in most will follow on Tuesday.
"A few schools in hybrid learning with start dates scheduled later in the week will provide updated start dates for their students. Please check with your school with any questions. Families who believe a different choice makes sense for their child are welcome to make that decision using your school’s approved absence process.
"From Wednesday through Friday next week (April 21-23), all in-person learning students in all grades will return home for distance learning. Students will not be required to leave their homes to attend school for the remainder of the week, though school buildings will be open.
"Over these three days, no athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before- and after-school childcare will be held. Meal box pick-ups will continue as currently available."
Graff's statement goes on to talk about the difference between peaceful protests and "the other kind" of protests:
"Peaceful protests are one of the foundations of our democracy. Some students may feel called to participate in collective actions being organized around the city, but MPS also recognizes our primary need and your primary desire to keep students safe. We cannot deny the fact that people with ill intentions sometimes take advantage of communities in crisis.
"Leaving the school campus should be a family and caregiver decision done while carefully weighing the potential dangers and concerns in the broader community. MPS respects students’ First Amendment right to peacefully assemble.
"We will not discipline students for the act of protesting as long as the protest remains peaceful. However, according to MPS policy, if students walk out of school unexcused, they will not be able to return to the school for the remainder of the day or participate in after-school activities."
Finally, Graff leaves some suggestions for how to approach the topic in a classroom setting:
"The racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents may be widely discussed among some students in our schools. As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis.
"Understanding that every educator will approach this differently, MPS has provided all educators with resources that are appropriate both to the age of the students being taught and the background and experience of the educator," Graff wrote. "These plans are made based on what we know today. Should trial activities change, we will re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible."