Hundreds of teachers vaccinated as more students return to classrooms

A teacher wears a face shield and face mask.
Jodi Nixon uses her eyes to express emotion while working on phonics with a student in her second-grade class at North Elementary in St. Peter, Minn. Teachers wore a mask and a shield while teaching as some of the state's youngest learners returned to in-person learning.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News file

Hundreds of Minnesota’s teachers and school staff are expected to be vaccinated as school districts across the state begin bringing students back into the classroom.

Last week, students from pre-kindergarten to second grade were brought back after weeks — or months — of distance learning. On Feb. 1, students in third, fourth and fifth grades will return to in-person learning. 

Many educators have raised concerns of having in-person instruction without being vaccinated. The state had allocated only 6,000 doses for teachers. But on Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced 15,000 more vaccines for teachers and child care workers.

Host Angela Davis spoke with school leaders on what it's like being back at school, the response from staff and teachers, and how young learners are handling the changes. She also checked in with MPR News education reporter Elizabeth Shockman on Walz’s new education plan.

Guests: 

  • Elizabeth Shockman covers education for MPR News. 

  • Mike Rieckenberg is the principal at Noble Elementary School in Golden Valley.

  • Keisha Davis is the assistant principal at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts in Brooklyn Park. 

  • Corinna Mason is the center director at Little Newtons Early Education Center in Plymouth. 

  • Jessica Busse is an assistant principal at St Louis Park High School.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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