ISD 31 Update Center

Tim Lutz

Tim Lutz


Welcome to the Bemidji Area Schools Coronavirus News Update Center, a dedicated space on our district website designed to keep parents, staff, and the entire Bemidji Public Schools community informed about the potential effect of the Coronavirus.

If you have a question about ongoing district plans related to the Coronavirus, or our plans for distance learning please reach out to us at this link.

Lets Talk

April 27, 2020

See How ISD 31 Is Helping During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 25, 2020

ISD 31 Parents and Families:

By now many of you have heard that Governor Walz has officially extended distance learning by Minnesota’s public schools through the end of the school year.  For ISD 31, that means we will continue to provide our current model of distance learning through the end of the school day on Wednesday, June 3rd.

In addition, please note that the Department of Education has determined that student instruction through distance learning will NOT be held on May 1 and May 4. Those two days will serve as planning days to prepare for the remainder of the school calendar year in a distance learning environment. However, school-age care for children of critical workers will still operate on those days.

We recognize that this news might be difficult to hear for many of you who have school-age children. Many of you were hoping to return to our typical spring-time celebrations, plays, concerts, graduation, and other ceremonies to recognize the hard work that students have put in all year.

We will continue to work hard to provide the best distance learning experience possible, and we hope to come up with creative ways to still honor our students for their hard-earned accomplishments. 

Finally, we greatly appreciate the work that families and parents are doing as our partners in educating students.  Let’s continue to work together on behalf of our students – your children.

Thank you.

Tim Lutz – Superintendent

April 6, 2020
Technology Tips for Families

Please review the document linked here for tips connecting to common online platforms for distance learning.

March 15, 2020

ISD 31 Plans Regarding the Governor’s Emergency Order Closing Schools


Dear ISD 31 Families,

Today, Governor Tim Walz and Education Commissioner, Mary Cathryn Ricker, announced that all Minnesota public schools will close to students starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020 with the plan to resume instruction on Monday, March 30, 2020. Bemidji Schools will be open as usual on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 (this includes Kids and Company).  If your child is involved in after school activities, please communicate with coaches/supervisors with respect to practice schedules for Monday and Tuesday.  

By executive order of the governor, starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020 there will be no classes. However, the order mandates that the district provide daycare accomodations for children of parents or guardians who qualify as Emergency Workers.  Parents or guardians who believe they qualify as an Emergency Worker will be required to complete a form and provide verification of their status as an Emergency Worker (click the link on the left side of this page). This form should be submitted to the district registration office.  You can Fax: 218-333-3138, email to or drop off at the Downtown Education Center, located at 502 Minnesota Ave, NW.

We are currently developing plans to provide meals for all students who wish to participate and to provide childcare services for children age 12 and under of Emergency Workers as identified in the governor’s Executive Order. 

During the school closure for students, we will be joining school districts and charter schools across the state to create plans to equitably distribute distance learning to our students should we need to close schools statewide for a longer period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Department of Education is defining distance learning to mean that a student receives daily interaction with their licensed teacher(s) and appropriate educational materials. Starting March 30, 2020, per the instruction from the Minnesota Department of Education, student learning will continue for the rest of the school year.  

Our educators will be giving thoughtful planning to our distance learning plan, offering careful consideration for students in a variety of areas, including students receiving special education services, multilingual learners, students experiencing homelessness, and students who rely on meals served at school. Once our distance learning plan is finalized we will communicate the plan to families. 

As always, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We also want to ensure every child has access to the education they need and deserve.

These are exceptional times. We will continue to keep you informed as we navigate COVID-19. Thank you in advance as we work together on the challenges that the COVID-19 virus have presented. I am confident in the resilience of our community and our outstanding staff, students and families to learn through this together.  As I mentioned in our previous communication, you can follow updates by monitoring this page.

Thank you,

Tim Lutz
Superintendent of Schools

March 11, 2020

Superintendent’s Letter Addressing Coronavirus Preparedness


Dear ISD 31 Families and Staff,

In light of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Minnesota, I want to assure you that ISD 31 leadership and administration have been working on a response plan in the event the coronavirus reaches our community.  I also want to ensure that you have all of the information and resources available to make sound decisions and to keep your family healthy and safe.  I believe it is important to stay informed and to help all of us in our community and in our school district maintain normalcy as the situation continues to develop. I would like to provide you with information about our processes and procedures regarding this health issue.

The Minnesota Departments of Health (MDH) and Education (MDE) collaboratively take the lead on decisions regarding school closures or other impacts on schools that could result from outbreaks of contagious conditions. They monitor local and national health concerns and their connection with major health organizations means they have access to more relevant and up-to-date information than individual school districts do.

We are in the prevention stage of managing for a potential outbreak of coronavirus and have standards and protocols already in place since this is also influenza season. The school district has been working on a robust Emergency Response Plan in response to the coronavirus.  For several weeks, district leadership have met and are continuing to discuss and prepare a districtwide response to this health issue. Our custodial staff is also working hard to keep our buildings safe and sanitary.

The first part of any Emergency Response Plan is Prevention/Preparation.  As you already know, the most significant measures we can take to protect ourselves and our families from contagious conditions are the same preventative practices that we promote every year during cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Keep your children home from school or activities when they are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces. (The surface disinfectant cleaners used in our school buildings is effective against the family of viruses that includes coronavirus.)

I want to stress that, while we need to be preparing now for the potential that the virus may affect our school district, it has not yet happened.  We do not need to panic.  Be assured that we are currently following recommendations from MDE and MDH regarding preventing and tracking the coronavirus. If necessary, you will receive updates from me via the same channels we use when weather-related issues occur (email, text, phone, social media and websites).  

Also, for your information, here are links from the World Health Organization and the CDC that provide valuable information on the coronavirus. Here is another link called Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource.  This resource provides many important points on talking to your children about this health concern.

Finally, if you have questions about the coronavirus and Covid-19, you may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920. Together we can stay safe and healthy.

Tim Lutz