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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update- March 16, 2020

Monday, March 16, 2020
Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors,

These next few weeks or months will be trying times for many of us, but by following the advice of our health professionals and through responsive action, we will get through this together. Our state government is taking action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and each and every one of us can do our part in this collective effort to save lives.

Here are a few updates:


School Cancellations

On Sunday, March 15, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-02, authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 to accommodate this planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job. It also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need. You can watch the full statements of Gov. Walz and the Department of Education Commissioner Ricker here.


Help prevent the spread

One term we should all get more familiar with is “social distancing.” This is the practice of intentional isolation to reduce the overall level of contact between people and thus reduce opportunities for COVID-19 to spread. What this means for you and me is avoid attending events with 50 or more people, avoid going to crowded bars or restaurants, when you must go out in public do your best to stay at least 6 feet away from others. It is also encouraged to work from home if at all possible. You can read about other strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the MDH website. The more we isolate ourselves now the sooner we will be able to return to normalcy.


MDH has set up a public hotline that will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 651-201-3920. You can also visit for up-to-date and accurate information about what Minnesota is doing to prepare for and stop the spread of COVID-19.


Additional Important Information

  • For any child care question please reach out to the Minnesota Department of Education School and child care questions: Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7 am-7 pm daily) Visit Child care providers can visit the Minnesota Department of Health for more info, here.  
  • If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits. Visit the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance website for more information, apply for unemployment here. Any other questions should be directed at the Minnesota Department of Employment and economic development at 651-259-7114, 800-657-3858 or


Keep In Touch

Please continue to reach out to me with any of your questions and concerns. It is very important that we work together to ensure that the best information is getting out to our communities. Lastly, I would like to offer my thanks to all of the health care workers who are putting their health on the line to care for us. Thank the caregivers in your life and send each other the positive vibes we all need.


Be kind to one another (from a distance) and wash your hands.


In partnership,

Michael Howard