Classes for grades 9-12 at Brainerd High School and two nearby facilities will shift to distance learning as of Thursday amid a "proven and growing cluster" of COVID-19 cases among students.
Class has been canceled for Wednesday at BHS, the Lincoln Education Center, and Brainerd Learning Center, and will resume into a distance learning model starting Thursday.
This will remain in place for two weeks, with the hybrid learning system – a mixture of online and in-person instruction – resuming on Oct. 8.
Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson made the announcement in an email to parents Tuesday. It's not been made public how many students have been tested positive for the virus.
"The school district has diligently completed contact tracing for students and staff who have come in contact with COVID-19 to date; however, our current cluster has grown to a point where we cannot contact trace each person involved within the positive cluster exposure," she wrote.
"Through the process of our contract tracing, it has become clear that the rapid transmission of these positive cases occurred outside of school during social gatherings."
Over the next two weeks, high school athletic practices and competitions will be canceled, while those who have tested positive will not be allowed to resume practices or activities until they meet state guidelines.
"We understand that this may create unease in our community," Larson wrote. "We have taken action to clean and sanitize the facility and are working closely with MDH to monitor the situation."
Brainerd's announcement comes a day after Wrenshall Schools in Northeast Minnesota announced a similar shift to distance learning after a "high number" of positive cases among students and staff.