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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Wednesday is the first of classes for the Rochester Public Schools 2020/2021 academic year.

And for the first time ever, it begins with empty classrooms and hallways at many schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic. RPS has adopted a hybrid model that highlights the distance learning initiative that was introduced after the pandemic began in March.

Elementary kids will be the only ones who will have in-class learning and that’s just two days a week.

RPS plans to re-evaluate the current model every six weeks and make adjustments as needed. RPS expects to announce its Phase 2 plan by October 16.

On Tuesday, the Rochester School Board approved the purchase of 4500 new laptops to meet the needs of distance learning.

The University of Minnesota releases details of its return to class policy