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Area Schools Move to Distance Learning Due to COVID-19

By Paul Boblett, Editor
Web posted November 17, 2020
Crosslake Community School and the Pequot Lakes School District (ISD 186) will join the growing ranks of schools across Minnesota that are changing course due to the recent surge of COVID-19 infections.

Schools in Minnesota were required to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place before the 2020-21 school year, which included a limit of 50 cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period in counties across the state, which determine in-person learning. That number was surpassed last week to a new high of 90.

Crosslake Community School Director Cliff Skagan offered this statement November 15, “Beginning Monday (Nov. 16), all classes at Crosslake Community School PreK-8 (seat based) will be held via Distance Learning. This follows the school's board-approved Safe Learning Plan because the 14 day rate of cases per 10k people has exceeded 50. The Safe Learning Plan is based upon recommendations set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education.

Classes were canceled Thursday and Friday (November 12-13) so that staff could finalize preparations for the transition. All the staff at CCS look forward to returning to In-Person learning when it is safe to do so.”

ISD 186 Superintendent Chris Lindholm provided the following statement in an email, “Beginning Monday, November 16, all students in grades k-12 will engage in distance learning every day unless individually informed otherwise. Early Childhood Special Education programs will also begin distance learning unless otherwise directed in your student’s Contingency Plan. School Readiness and Learning is Fun will be paused and emergency child care for school aged children of Tier 1 essential personnel will be launched at Eagle View Elementary School, 7am - 6pm Monday through Friday beginning Monday.”

Crow Wing County Public Health Supervisor Michelle Moritz stated in a November 9 email to Crow Wing County School districts that showed the numbers for the county reaching beyond the Crow Wing County Safe Learning Plan threshold.

Moritz said that there were 90 cases per 10,000 as of Nov. 12, and were projected be at 110+ per 10,000 this week (November 19).

Moritz email stated, “Over the past 2 days, Crow Wing [County] received a significant number of positive case results that were from tests that were run late last week and over the weekend. These new results have significantly changed the case count for the future 14 day time periods.”

She added, “Staffing  continues to be the biggest issue for facilities, schools, and business across our county.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, as of November 15, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Crow Wing County was 2,422, and 922 in Cass County. The total number of cases in Minnesota to date is 223,581, with 2,905 deceased, and 172,873 released from isolation.

For more information on the pandemic and COVID-19 safety guidelines, visit www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/

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