Cloquet School Board changes meeting restrictions to meet state guidance

New Minnesota opinion and guidance has led to multiple districts shifting meeting formats in order to abide by state law.

The Cloquet School District Administrative Building. (Izabel Johnson / 2021 file / Pine Journal)

The Cloquet School Board recently adjusted its operations in order to meet Minnesota Open Meeting Law standards under recent state guidance.

Prior to Monday, May 10, the board had been meeting in person, while restricting public participation to virtual attendance via livestream, with public comments allowed through email.

Superintendent Michael Cary explained that until recently, officials thought this was considered legal under state guidance regarding school board meetings during the pandemic.

However, a recent advisory opinion by the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration found the St. Louis County School Board to be in violation of state law when they were found to be conducting meetings in a format similar to that of Cloquet.

This opinion led to new state guidance from the Minnesota School Board Association regarding how school boards conduct business during a pandemic.


The guidance states that school board meetings should either be held in person — without restrictions on public attendance — or held completely virtually.

Cary explained that after receiving this guidance, Cloquet officials opted to hold future meetings in person, with public attendance allowed physically or through livestream, pending an official decision from the school board.

On Monday, the School Board decided to continue with the livestream format of meetings, while also allowing for the public to attend in person if they wish to do so. The board plans to revisit this topic on May 24.

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