On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz announced a set of ground rules for conditions outside and inside school buildings that will govern how public education resumes in Minnesota this fall while giving local officials and educators some leeway over deciding how education would be delivered to their students.

Alexandria has three options for conducting classes this fall. They can send the kids back to school in person, continue distance learning or do a hybrid method.

"I justly we've been preparing ourselves for the three options while we wait for the Department of Education recommendations," Superintendent Rick Sansted said. "Our leadership team has been working very hard. We also had our parent survey, staff survey and a task force group meet at the beginning of July. We've taken all of that data to help create plans for the three scenarios."

Now that Alex schools have the guidance, they will continue to work with public health officials to make the best choice for its students.

"We are hoping by the middle of next week we can target some communication with the student's families," Sansted said. "I am also a parent in the district, so I am anxious as well. But we need input back from parents for us to protect the students and staff that may be considered high-risk of catching the virus."

Sansted doesn't have an exact date when the decision on the school year will come, but for the high-risk students, there will be a distance-learning option. Sansted also appreciates the state for letting the school districts pick which learning model works best for their area.

"I'm pleased with the ability for our community to make a decision based on local data," Sansted said. "I think it's important based on the size of our state and the difference in districts. I think it's helpful to have some guidance when it comes to local decision-making possibilities. Given the nature of our community partnerships, including local public health officials, we will be able to make a decision that makes sense for our community."

The school board will discuss the reopening plan at a work session on Monday, Aug. 3.