Minnesota's fifth largest school district is moving to 100% distance learning due to "an extremely high number of student and staff absences due to illness."
The alert about the transition from in-person to remote learning was sent districtwide Monday evening, with Superintendent Cory McIntyre saying there are schools in the district with "as high as 25% of their staff members out," making it impossible to "sustain ordinary, in-person operations for the short term.
Middle and high schoolers go to distance learning Tuesday, Jan. 11. Elementary schools move to distance learning on Wednesday, Jan. 12.
The switch to distance learning is only for two weeks, so the current plan is for all schools to return to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 24.
Students who need access to the internet can still go to their school to participate in virtual learning, though the message from the district is to "only use this option if it is absolutely necessary for your student to be supervised and/or access internet resources."
Free meal bags will be available for curbside pick up during the distance learning days.
High school after-school activities and athletics will continue.
The latest information on the district website is for the week ending Jan. 3, which says there were 102 confirmed staff COVID-19 cases between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3, in addition to 264 confirmed student cases during that same period. It's unclear how many additional staff and student cases have been confirmed in the latest 7-day period.