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Be ready for school start, whenever that may be

Sometime this fall, Minnesota schools are going to start edudcating students again. Exactly when this will be, and exactly how this will happen, is up in the air right now. But there are things that need to be done to be ready for it, whenever that is.

Teaching positions need to be filled, and teachers prepared for the year ahead. Students need to be registered. School facilities need to be prepared and cleaned — and this year they need to be meticulously cleaned and sanitized for if and when students return. Plans need to be made to keep them that way.

School districts are working right now to prepare for any one of three different school scenarios — a continuation of the distance learning that they used to finish out the school year, having students return to school in person, or some combination of both. The state is expected to provide some guidance in the next couple of weeks, but schools are working on three plans.

Which makes the idea that school districts should hand out property tax refunds if they don’t reopen this fall seem ridiculous. Jason Lewis, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate challenge Sen. Tina Smith, is proposing just that. He’s proposing opening the schools, business as usual, without regard to the COVID-19 situation. He says we are doing students a great disservice by subjecting them to distance learning.

He may have a point there, but defunding the school districts makes about as much sense as defunding police departments. Schools have to be ready to reopen, whenever and however that may be, and that takes money.

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