Mayor Frey announced a vaccine (or negative test within 72 hours) mandate for establishments that serve food and drinks in Minneapolis yesterday, which will kick off Wednesday, January 19 for most places and a week later on January 26 for all ticketed events. Children under age 2 will be exempt.
Minneapolis Public Schools announced that they're moving to online distance learning starting this Friday, January 14. Right now, they're not scheduled to be back in the classroom until Monday, January 31. Here's the letter MPS sent to families of students announcing the decision. If you're wondering how they landed here, read this first-hand account from a Southwest teacher about what the first week back was like.
Online learning means that all instruction will move online, but students may still come in to the school building for supervised online learning. Students will still have access to meals, which they can either eat at or pick up from their school. Buses will still be running and can pick students up, but the district warned that staffing shortages may make it take longer than normal. Families can pick up rapid COVID tests at schools. Most after-school activities will be cancelled, but varsity sports and competitions will continue.
On Tuesday, the superintendent's portion of the School Board meeting focused extensively on COVID policies and he expressed his desire to keep as many kids in the classroom as possible, but also said “I’m not sure how much longer we will be able to hold on" when asked about the COVID-driven staffing challenges. Melissa Whitler provided a full summary of the meeting on our website, along with clarification she got from MPS and the State Dept. of Education around when and how the district can implement online learning. Sometime between the meeting and yesterday afternoon, they elected to move to online learning. Last night the teachers union announced that their board will be meeting next week to take the next step towards a strike authorization vote. We'll keep you updated on how that goes.
The City will be holding their big virtual open house on the Hennepin Ave reconstruction design today at 4:30 p.m. Information on how to join is here.
Henry Pan wrote a piece for us with thoughts on the redesign from people across the neighborhood, including transit riders, a barber shop owner, and the City. We've also been collecting your thoughts about the project on our Hennepin Avenue Redesign Perspectives page, which includes images of the design and links to essential information. Here are a few of the recent perspectives we've published:
"As someone with an adult son who now works on Hennepin Ave. and relies on transit, I appreciate the thought put into the design to both help keep him safe and to curb driving in the area to help reduce fossil fuel emissions and leave some semblance of a livable planet for future generations."
"What matters to me is the impact to local businesses due to lack of parking. As a resident on Hennepin south of Lake the redesign there is a disaster."
"I can't wait to be able to not have to cling onto my children for dear life as we cross the street dodging left turns and speeding vehicles en route to the grocery store, a park, or one of the many restaurants and small businesses we patronize."
If you have thoughts, join the open house today at 4:30 p.m., share them with the City through their design feedback survey (which is open through Jan. 28), or use the "Add Context" box on our Perspectives page.
Southwest's boys basketball team took down Washburn 65-58 on Tuesday. The full game was posted online if you want to watch it. (Youtube)
Our friends over at the Sahan Journal were awarded a major journalism grant, which will be VERY good for the Twin Cities local news scene on the whole. (Sahan Journal)
A COVID-driven staffing shortage is hitting Metro Transit, and has been disrupting the Metro Mobility program that people living with disabilities or health conditions often rely on. (Star Tribune)
The Park Board's new 20 MPH speed limits (down from 25 MPH) are starting to go into effect on parkways around the city. (Park Board)
The Jungle Theater looks back at 2021. (Jungle Theater)
Did you know you can volunteer to teach a class at Hennepin County jail? Topics have included Alcoholics Anonymous, domestic violence prevention, and religious instruction in the past. If you're interested, fill out an application here.
Become a project coordinator for the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.
OUT & ABOUT
The Art Shanties kick off this weekend. Enter their people-powered transportation contest by taking a photo of yourself using any non-motorized form of transportation (sled, showshoes, etc.) to get around.
You've got a few weeks left to see the Julie Mehretu documentary at the Walker, which was co-organized with LA County Museum of Art and the Whitney.
Icehouse is hosting "dinner jazz" from 6-9 p.m. on Friday.