ST. PAUL -- In order to give educators the opportunity to form long-term COVID-19 plans, Governor Tim Walz has decided to temporarily close schools across the state.

On Sunday morning, Walz signed an executive order closing schools to students starting on Wednesday and lasting until Friday, March 27.

During that time, he says school staff, teachers, and administrators should work with the Minnesota Department of Education the Minnesota Department of Health to put together plans to continue student's learning, as well as access to childcare and meals in case of extended closures.

While children have proven to be less vulnerable to this virus and we haven't seen significant spreading in our schools, we do anticipate that COVID-19 will have a sizeable impact on our education system in the coming weeks, months, and potentially the coming year. We cannot wait until the pandemic is in our schools to figure things out.

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Walz says during the week and a half period, schools will still be required to provide care for elementary-aged children of health care professionals, first responders, and emergency service workers.

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker says classes will resume on March 30th.

At the end of this short-term closure, which we acknowledge is during Minnesota's spring break season, the situation is going to be re-evaluated on a daily and even hourly basis.

As of Sunday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota is 35, up from 21 on Saturday.

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