The response to COVID-19 has impacted access to courthouses and may change the way cases are handled.
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COVID-19 Information

Gradual Return to In-Person Court Proceedings
Court operations continue to be in a transitional phase. To continue operations in a manner that prioritizes health and safety, the following is in effect June 14, 2021 – September 6, 2021:

  • Criminal jury trials will be held in person.
  • Civil jury trials can be held in person, as long as they do not interfere with a Major Criminal proceeding.
  • Major Criminal, Juvenile Protection (including CHIPS and Permanency), and Juvenile Delinquency trials and contested hearings will be held in person.
  • Criminal settlement conferences will be held in person.
  • Grand jury proceedings will be held in person.
  • Mandatory Misdemeanor Criminal trials and contested hearings are to be held in person beginning August 2, 2021.
  • All other district court proceedings will be held remotely unless the Chief Judge of the Judicial District grants permission for an in-person proceeding based on extenuating circumstances.
  • Public Service Counter Services may be provided by appointment, remotely or by telephone. See below for more information.
  • Self-Help Center: Services are available by appointment, remotely, or by telephone.

 
Face Coverings and Social Distancing
Currently, all state courts require six-feet social distancing and mandatory use of face coverings in all areas of a court facility through June 13, 2021. Effective June 14, 2021:

  • Social distancing will not be required for brief interactions or when people are wearing face coverings. Brief interaction is defined as when two or more different households are within six feet of each other for less than 15 minutes total within a 24-hour period.
  • Face coverings will be required inside courtrooms and in jury deliberation spaces. Presiding judges may allow for removal of face coverings in the courtroom if deemed necessary, as long as six feet of physical distance can be maintained while the face coverings are removed. Face coverings in public areas of a county-owned court facility will be required if local government guidelines mandate their use. Any person who wishes to wear a face covering in a court facility may do so.

If you are required to visit a court facility but have COVID-19 symptoms or have had COVID-19 exposure in the last 14 days, contact the court or your attorney as soon as possible.

Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Orders and Information »
Safety Reopening Court Facilities Resources »

When entering the Sibley County courthouse please note:
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are available, and
  • Disclose if you have had any COVID-19 symptoms or are not feeling well
If you have a court case scheduled in Sibley County District Court, call (507) 237-4051 to determine if your case will be heard or scheduled to a future date. You may also contact the court by email.

If you do not have access to internet, or are unable to connect by video and audio for a Zoom hearing, please contact the local Court Administrator’s Office for further information.

Remote Expedited Temporary Relief (RETR) in Family Cases:

All counties in the 1st Judicial District will be participating in the Remote Expedited Temporary Relief (RETR) Program.  RETR is a temporary program to facilitate case management during the COVID-19 Emergency.  RETR is a Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 114.02(a) (10) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.    

This program permits the parties to retain a third party to provide binding ADR services to resolve temporary relief issues in family cases.  The process is truncated in at least three ways: volume of submissions, time limits on the process, and deadlines.  RETR follows the Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) / Moderated Settlement Conferences (MSC) model for fees and includes a four hour flat fee rate charged by the ADR provider. To participate review RETR program information and file Stipulation and Order for RETR.