Mounds View Public Schools is the latest school district in Minnesota preparing to shift a significant number of its students to 100% distance learning amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.
In a letter to parents Friday, Superintendent Chris Lennox acknowledged the rising cases of COVID-19 in Ramsey County since Labor Day, with the latest update provided on Thursday showing the county at 26.2 cases per 10,000 residents.
Current Minnesota Department of Health and Education guidelines recommend that district shift secondary students to distance learning once the rate of COVID-19 in their local area hits 30 cases per 10,000 residents.
With that in mind, Lennox said that middle and high school students WILL transition to distance learning, but when this happens will depend on the next round of COVID-19 data.
If the case count in Ramsey County rises above 30 per 10,000 this week, the transition to distance learning will go ahead as soon as Monday, Nov. 9.
If it doesn't, then the transition will happen at a later date, with Lennox saying parents can expect a decision to be made by the end of this week.
The Mounds View district has three middle schools – Chippewa, Edgewood, and Highview, and two high schools – Irondale and Mounds View.
Elementary school students won't be affected by the changes, with the current "blended learning" program they're currently on continuing.
Lennox's announcement was made Friday to "provide families as much time as possible to prepare for this likely reality."
It came on the same day that another Twin Cities school district, Anoka-Hennepin, announced that it would also be shifting its secondary students to 100% distance learning.
It came after the district announced that the Friday varsity football game between Anoka and Champlin Park would be canceled due to a "COVID-19 related investigation," with all planned games scheduled between the schools at the weekend also canceled.
The infection rates per 10,000 residents are specifically designed to help school districts make an informed decision about teach models, be it in-person instruction, distance learning or a hybrid of the two – and it's based on the number of cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period.
- 0-9 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for all students
- 10-19 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students
- 20-29 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for all students
- 30-49 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for elementary students; distance learning for secondary students
- 50+ cases per 10,000 residents: Distance learning for all students
As of Thursday's figures, there are 19 counties in Minnesota are above 50 cases. More here.