ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD) – Let each school district decide whether students are back in the classroom this fall or continue distance-learning — the message from the Republican-controlled state Senate as Governor Tim Walz considers options under his emergency powers.

Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) says the decision belongs with locally-elected school officials.

“Who know their students, their staff, the teachers, the parents, the community and their resources best,” said Nelson.

Sen. Karla Bigham (D-Cottage Grove) responds Senate Republicans haven’t had any hearings on the issue.

“We have no idea what are the repercussions if, god forbid, there’s an outbreak in a school,” said Bigham. “What happens if one gets shut down with federal dollars.”

Governor Walz says he’ll announce a decision on the fall school term by July 27th.