The State Education Commissioner is recommending that schools should not return to normal operations for the school year.
Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said that he doesn't make the recommendation lightly.
He says that while only the Governor and health officials can require it to happen - they have been supportive of the recommendation.
In a letter to schools he said "I met with all of Nebraska’s local public health officials on Saturday and have been in multiple meetings with the Governor and state health officials as well. You should note, health officials and the Governor are supportive of this recommendation. This is a unique moment in time and I understand if you have doubts about the severity of this crisis. However, I do not have any doubt. I have witnessed information and discussions that make me certain about the public health risk to all of Nebraska and the nation. The unprecedented response across the country in two weeks’ time shows that the crisis response continues to escalate. As UNMC’s Chancellor Gold has stated, it would be best to be five minutes early than five minutes late.“
The commissioner says that school must be prepared for an alternative learning environment through the remainder of the school year.
Blomstedt also told schools to work on food service and other issues. In addition, he highlighted the need to address equity challenges, like special education, English learners, poverty, and similar issues.
Much like 2019 flooding, Blomstedt told educators to do what it takes to reach kids.
"Education rules and regulations should be your last concern. You cannot make bad decisions right now if you are focused on the safety, well-being, and basic needs of your children and communities. Do everything you can to help protect public health, help support your families and communities, and be prepared to use your community leadership skills," he said.