Several more area school districts have announced their plans for opening the 2020-21 school year.

Last week, the state issued a set of guidelines to help school districts decide how they should open during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They can choose in-person learning, online learning or a combination of the two.

All school districts are required to offer students and staff the option of learning or working remotely if they don’t feel safe in a school building.

Everyone in school will be required to follow the statewide mandate to wear masks. Schools could be required to move to a different type of learning if the situation with the pandemic indicate it's needed.

School districts have surveyed families and held special board meetings as part of their deliberations. (Click here to read the story published Aug. 4 story detailing other districts' decisions.)

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  • Benson

The Benson School Board met Aug. 3 and unanimously passed a resolution to begin the school year with in-person instruction, Superintendent Dennis Laumeyer said in an email. “The decision was made after consultation with local and state health officials and with strict protocols in place to keep students and staff healthy,” he wrote. “Benson Schools also has a robust and engaging distance-learning plan for those students who are not able to attend classes in person.”

  • DREAM Technical Academy

DREAM Technical Academy in Willmar plans to open its school year Aug. 31 with a hybrid plan.

Half the students will attend school Monday and Wednesday and half Tuesday and Thursday, Tammie Knick, the school social worker, said in an email. Students will be using distance learning on the days they are not in school, and all will use distance learning Friday.

Depending on what families decide, some students will be in school four days a week, and others will be distance learning full-time.

  • Community Christian School

Students at Community Christian School in Willmar will attend school in person five days a week.

The school is ready for students and staff and activities, Tom Tuttlle, the school’s administrator, said in a release sent to the West Central Tribune. The school will follow state and federal guidelines.

  • Central Minnesota Christian School

Central Minnesota Christian School in Prinsburg will be have face-to-face classes this fall, Superintendent Jon De Groot said in an email.

The school has a distance-learning plan as a backup plan in case of an outbreak. There’s also a plan for at-risk students to use distance learning all year.

As a private school, CMCS could make its decisions early without waiting for state guidance. However, the school will be watching state recommendations and decisions in neighboring school districts, he said. While public and private schools may differ, “COVID is the common enemy,” he wrote.

  • Minnewaska

According to its website, Minnewaska Area Public Schools faculty are surveying families by phone this week. A letter from Superintendent Rick Ellingworth indicates the district will have a reopening plan by Aug. 11.

The West Central Tribune invites area school districts to notify us about plans for reopening. Please email lvanderwerf@wctrib.com with any information about decisions or about tentative plans yet to be finalized.