With its distance learning plans set to roll out on Monday, March 30, Alexandria Public Schools provided an update Wednesday on that and other recent changes due to the closing of the state's schools due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who had closed K-12 schools for eight days through Friday to allow schools to prepare for distance learning, announced Wednesday that schools would remain closed to students through all of April.

Alexandria and other schools will begin employing distance learning techniques on March 30, as of now running through April 30. Alexandria staff will use Friday, May 1 and Monday, May 4, to prepare for students to return to their classrooms on Tuesday, May 5. Of course that schedule could change depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Distance learning includes daily interactions through technology tools between students working from home and teachers. The district will be providing additional information to students and families on how it will work, including plans for student attendance, grading and school-to-home communication.

"I want to acknowledge the hard work of all staff during the last eight days of planning time," Superintendent Julie Critz said. "I am so impressed with the magnitude of decisions and the quality of the work that has taken place in this short period of time to ready us for implementing our distance learning model. In this time of unrest, our staff have been amazing. I could not be more proud."

The school also announced that:

All school events, athletics and activities are suspended through April 30.

The district is providing care for children age 4-12 whose parents are part of the Tier I and Tier II categories as identified by the Minnesota Department of Education, or who work for the district. Social distancing is being used as much as possible.

The school district is continuing to offer free meals to any child age 18 and under. Lunch, as well as breakfast items for the following day, can be picked up curbside from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at Woodland Elementary School. The transportation department can deliver meals to families needing that service. To arrange that, call 320-762-3315 or email hgalstad@alexschools.org.