Covid and the Future of Education


An MTS student attends a tutoring session at MOA

Chelsea Orrick, Student Journalist

In the middle of February, 2020, schools began to shut down temporarily, in response to the new COVID virus. At first they shut down a couple of days a week so they could do cleaning. Then on February 27th, the coronavirus scare prompted more schools to fully shut down. After much debate, on March 5th, Governor Walz decided to close the schools in MN and switch to distance learning. MTS shut down at the same time as other schools. They shut down on March 16th after they had had time to distribute Chromebooks and make sure students had everything they needed for distance learning.

MTS has been working hard to provide a stable learning environment during these crazy times. They have been following safety protocols, much like other schools in the nation.  When asked if we’re following the same protocols as other schools in MN, Ms. Albin said, “The legal ones yes, (like masks and social distancing, etc.) but some other schools are fully online or have a hybrid model, so the two hour sessions that we have to support students in their online learning is pretty unique.” In the Mounds View district, schools don’t let anyone into the school, even special-needs kids. Instead, they find different ways to help their students. For example, my little brother goes to one of their middle schools and he has special needs, and instead of doing everything online like the other kids, his dean drops off a packet every week of what he needs to do in each of his classes.

An MTS student attends a tutoring session at MOA

In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz gave the green light to reopen elementary schools starting January 18th, but schools aren’t required to open. But with loosened restrictions, every parent can choose to continue hybrid or send their children to school. One of the safety measures they are taking is a covid-19 testing program that gives staff the option to test for the virus every other week. Some others are: three feet of physical distance, students will need to mask up during physical activities that take place inside, and school staff must wear face masks and face shields at all times.

Even though teachers are some of the first eligible people to get the vaccine, there is a very limited supply. In some districts, between 1 and 2 percent of staff will get this first round of the vaccine, so administrations were instructed to make a list of which staff to prioritize. Many educators are worried about being exposed to the virus. Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers have been staging demonstrations to express their concern that schools are opening too soon, before more teachers have been vaccinated and without more safety measures. 

I asked a good friend who goes to a different school about how he felt about school, and he told me, “I hate it and whoever came up with this distance learning deserves to die.” He doesn’t like it because he doesn’t have any motivation to log on to class or do assignments, and his school doesn’t tell him when he has new assignments, only when they’re missing. Although online school isn’t working for him, some students actually prefer online learning. According to a poll on the MTS Times website, when asked “Which form of school works best for you?” out of 19 votes: 8 people (42%) said in-person, 7 people (37%) said hybrid, and 4 people (24%) said online. Some reasons for this could be that online school is more flexible, it offers a wide selection of programs, it’s accessible, it allows for a customized learning environment, and it’s more cost-effective than traditional education. No matter how you personally feel, Americans as well as the rest of the world are likely to see some permanent changes in regards to education for many years to come.