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PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2920 


Trailing Biden in Nevada, Trump holds a jam-packed Carson City rally. And with COVID a major election issue, hospitals help patients register to vote.


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Litigation is ongoing on ballot receipt deadlines, witness signatures and drop boxes. And early voting starts in a dozen states this week.

Metro Teachers in MN Want Safe Learning, Statewide Support

Minnesota has been using county-level case data for the coronavirus to determine if schools can have any level of in-person classes. (Adobe Stock)
Minnesota has been using county-level case data for the coronavirus to determine if schools can have any level of in-person classes. (Adobe Stock)
October 1, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In the Twin Cities, teachers are demanding more safety protocols before students gradually return from full-time distance learning.

They also want disparities felt by students across Minnesota addressed by state leaders.

This week, teacher unions in Minneapolis and St. Paul held a joint rally, saying they want clear answers from their respective districts about a safe transition to in-person learning.

Nick Faber, president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, believes their district is rushing things on moving to a hybrid model.

Faber said there hasn't been enough reassurances on the cleanliness of buildings and personal protective equipment supplies to protect students and staff from the pandemic.

"We're talking about people's lives, we're talking about folks getting sick," Faber said. "We think it's important to slow down until we can get all of those questions answered."

The union said distance learning issues need to be sorted out as well, since it will still be used. They also want state leaders to address at-home learning disparities.

Depending on COVID case numbers, St. Paul is eyeing a hybrid launch around mid-October.

In a statement, the district said it's meeting readiness targets, and is demonstrating safety at essential child-care locations.

Minneapolis isn't as close to launching a hybrid model, but that district said it's doing its best to keep students and staff safe, while keeping union officials in the loop.

As for distance learning, Faber said technology gaps for certain students have been exacerbated by the crisis. The union is calling for changes to the state tax code, so larger corporations can contribute more funding to help erase these disparities across Minnesota.

"We just have to make the political choice," Faber urged. "To make sure that those companies that are doing well during this time are taxed properly and providing the resources that our students need in order to succeed."

He said it's not about asking philanthropic donations because it's onerous to apply for such grants. He added more tax revenue makes it easier for schools to decide how to best use the money.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN