Minneapolis schools to shift to distance learning in advance of Chauvin verdict

A marquee at a school reads "Be safe out there, Rhinos. We miss you."
A pedestrian walks past a sign with encouraging words outside Justice Page Middle School on April 16, 2020, in Minneapolis.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

Ahead of jury deliberations and a possible verdict in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis Public Schools notified families that school schedules next week will change.

On Monday and Tuesday, of next week, in-person learning will continue for all grades. From Wednesday through Friday, all students who were participating in in-person learning will switch to distance learning.

No athletic events are scheduled — and before- and after-school child care is canceled.

Pick-up lunches will still be available.

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Superintendent Ed Graff said in a statement Friday afternoon that the plans had been made based on the information available on the trial’s schedule, and if circumstances change, the district will reevaluate.

“Our community is moving through an extraordinarily challenging time as we react to the killing of former MPS student Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer, just as testimony in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd concludes and the case goes to the jury,” Graff wrote. “We anticipate that a verdict in the Chauvin case could impact in-person learning in Minneapolis Public Schools.”

On Monday, middle-grade students are scheduled to return to school for in-person learning for the first time in more than a year, since the COVID-19 pandemic began and districts across the state moved toward distance and hybrid learning models. It’s also the day attorneys will make closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin — and when jury deliberations are scheduled to begin. 

The district outlined the logistical changes in a statement on its website:

  • On April 19 and 20 — Monday and Tuesday — in-person learning will continue for all grades with transportation to and from school.

  • Several schools that are operating in a hybrid learning model with start dates scheduled for later in the week will adjust their in-person start dates. The district said families who want to make a different choice for their student can do so using their individual school’s absence process. 

  • From April 21 to 23 — Wednesday through Friday — all in-person students in all grades will return home for distance learning. Students won’t be required to leave their homes to attend school for the remainder of the week, but school buildings will be open. No athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before-and after-school childcare will be held. Meal box pick-ups will continue.