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Fire at Apollo High School in St. Cloud means kids will attend class on alternating days to start the year

Kids in grades 9-12 will alternate days they physically go to school.

Apollo High School in St. Cloud is facing an unusual set of challenges due to a fire that damaged parts of the school in July. 

The July 11 fire started in a classroom and caused significant smoke damage throughout the school. Last week, health inspectors informed school officials that parts of the school will not be ready for the start of the upcoming school year. 

A reduction in available classrooms forced Apollo to get creative, so they've developed a plan that will allow students to learn daily, although they'll be alternating days in which they physically attend classes at the school. 

"We will begin the school year on an alternate day schedule," said District 742 Superintendent Willie Jet on Monday. "This means that students will rotate the days they will physically attend Apollo. Students not at Apollo will engage in on-line learning directed by their classroom teachers. Fortunately, every high school student is provided with a one-to-one device which makes this opportunity possible."

Jett said they worked with the Minnesota Department of Education and schools around the state that have experienced "similar catastrophic situations" to come up with the plan. 

Students will be assigned to "A days" and "B days." Ninth and 10th graders will physically go to school on A days, 11th and 12th graders will be there on B days. The first day of school (Sep. 4) is for ninth grade only, and the designated A and B days will begin Wednesday, Sep. 5. 

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4: 9th graders only
  • Wednesday, Sep. 5: 9th and 10th graders (A day)
  • Thursday, Sep. 6: 11th and 12th graders (B day)
  • Friday, Sep. 7: 9th and 10th graders (A day)

Jett anticipates that parts of the school will open in waves, and the goal is to have the majority of the building accessible by Oct. 1. Until then, the alternating schedule is in place. 

Approximately 40 classrooms and the media center were damaged by smoke. The cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium were not affected. 

Students that don't have access to Wi-Fi outside of school will be provided with hotspot devices, according to Apollo Principal Al Johnson. 

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