Walz Calls for Local District Decision-Making While Pushing Guidelines and Requirements for Matrix, Extensive Testing and Quarantines
by: Linda Bell
Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flannahan, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, MDE Commissioner Mary-Cathryn Ricker and MDH Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller decreed that school districts would be making their own decisions. MACC applauds state leadership in tipping their hat to local control! That’s the way it’s supposed to be! Unfortunately, decisions and on-going school operations will be controlled through “constant consultation” and advisement on regulatory policies originated in the Dept of Health particularly and the Dept of Education. Oh, no… We’ve seen this show before!
If ever there was a time to get into your local school board, NOW IS THE TIME! We’re talking about the lives of our children and it is time to step up and get into all school board meetings beginning in August and continuing… During the press conference it was made clear that the current plan will continue to evolve.
Apparently the “local decision part” is a “data-driven approach”, written by the Dept. of Health, in the 18-page, “Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year.” This “data-driven approach” or Matrix framework is the biggest deciding factor in opening or not opening a school. In essence, if a county has more than 50 cases those districts will be prohibited from offering any in-person instruction! https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/k12planguide.pdf
Considering last spring’s failed “distance learning” model, we would hope that some districts would rely more on their own district regional statistics rather than total stats in very large counties. Districts can also say no to the whole deal! It is high time for districts to start standing up.
State Goals in Making a District Decision
Hitting on the theme of “the state raising the child,” Gov. Walz said he is very responsible for the care of all of the state’s children and that “the school is the one thing in society that binds us all together.” Enter Stage Right —–> Arne Duncan! We gazed into the mind of the governor last year as he advocated for the “Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children Act” which prods babies into schools and home visiting prenatal to 3 years old, at one point a mandate.
Walz stated, “There will be extensive testing in the schools.”
This act will unleash a multitude of corporations and businesses who will make staggering amounts of money on daily temperature checks, Covid testing and thousands and thousands of Contact Tracers. We are creating a cottage-industry to fight a pandemic that hasn’t truly panned out.
Minnesota: Expect extensive academic testing and extensive health testing. It’s called surveillance data tracking and MACC has written about this for years.
Building an education system “for the long haul” is the key to this plan. This is a plan not just for the fall but for years to come. “Wearing masks will keep cases down. Social distancing helps.” It is interesting to ponder if the matrix used for schools will cross over to businesses, also?
In this graphic, districts will be making decisions (in consultation with agencies) about the total number of cases over 14 days divided by the county population/10,000 totaling the 14-day county level case rate per 10,000. Commissioner Malcolm stated that, “There will be a detailed consultative process for local schools to apply these guidelines.”
Selecting a Learning Model for School Opening (50+ cases = distance learning) This count includes prison Covid cases and yet, these individuals are not part of the general population.
At MACC, we are curious as to why the Dept of Health chose to use “cases” as opposed to “deaths?” Minnesota likely has lots of cases and most are asymptomatic. The death percentage rate is truly the all-important number and we encourage the Governor to use the death count instead.
Additionally, shouldn’t we be questioning the data, which is the foundation of the Matrix framework? Many individuals in Minnesota have been told they possibly have Covid but never received a confirming test. These individuals were counted as “cases” nevertheless. Also, the case count is skewed because cases represent the number of the tests, which could be 4 – 10 tests, on 1 individual. In the statistical count, 4 individuals appear to have Covid when in actuality there were 4 tests given the same individual.
[MDH Commissioner Malcolm] The state has set up “Incident Command Teams” in every public school. ICT will evaluate the ability to implement REQUIRED and RECOMMENDED health best practices in guidance.” One must question why the governor is pushing “extensive testing” in the schools? Will in-person learning students be tested or will this extend to hybrid and distance learning students, also? Will their families be tested? Add to this the unneccesary and nefarious contact tracing and we have a society-wide disaster with continual quarantines.
Requirements for In-Person and Hybrid Learning
Determining when to turn the dial backwards
The Governor’s plan is incredibly concerning not only for academic progress but also concerns regarding mental health for our next generation. The plan will not lead to trust among children and/or teachers. In fact, MACC has witnessed this sort of state takeover of school districts in the past with the Common Core Standards, a corporate led takeover using federal and state structures. Let’s move in a positive direction!
MACC encourages Governor Walz and Commissioner’s Malcolm and Ricker to:
- Remove the Matrix framework due to faulty unreliable data.
- Allow local school boards, administrators, teachers and especially parents to make their own local decisions as to how to reopen schools, write their own guidelines and create what is best for their community’s children.