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Anoka-Hennepin school board votes to continue with sports, activities

The district is shifting to a distance-learning model due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the county.

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board on Monday voted to continue with high school and middle school extracurriculars and sports, despite students moving to a distance-learning model next week due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the county.

The school board voted 5-1 Monday to allow sports and activities, which defies state guidance that says school districts that shift to distance learning under state guidelines should end these activities.

Last week, Anoka-Hennepin – the state's largest district – said middle and high school students will shift from hybrid learning to distance learning on Nov. 4, adding that all athletics and extracurriculars would be put on hold starting Nov. 2.

But Monday's vote, which came as a surprise as it wasn't on the agenda, changes that, allowing students to continue to participate in extracurriculars and sports if they choose to. Meanwhile, the Star Tribune says the district will communicate this with the state. 

Overall, families were excited about the board's decision, WCCO says, many of whom attended the meeting or waited outside with signs that read "Let them play" and "Open the schools."

Anoka-Hennepin is the largest school district in the state, including Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Champlin Park and Coon Rapids high schools.

Sporting events in Minnesota have been connected with 3,410 known COVID-19 cases, Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said in a call with reporters on Monday. Of those, 593 people were involved in high school-age sports.

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