Two area school districts switch learning delivery methods due to COVID
Rear view of elementary age boy waiting to get on school bus. His classmates are loading the bus in the background.

(Mankato, MN) – Two area school systems are changing learning delivery methods as the COVID-19 spread increases across their communities.

In Fairmont Public Schools, secondary students will move to a hybrid learning format starting Monday.  Elementary students will continue to attend school each day.  The district says they’ll operate in that manner “until further notice.”

Martin County’s case rate per 10,000 people increased from 13 to 18 when the latest reports came out Thursday.  The Minnesota Department of Health recommends hybrid learning for secondary students and in-person learning for elementary students for counties with case rates from 10 to 19.

In St. James, school officials announced that high school and middle school students would switch to remote learning on September 28.  “The reality of our situation is that we have been sending members of our learning community home for quarantine and isolation at an increasing rate over the past two weeks,” a letter from Superintendent Dr. Steven Hall said.

Hall said Northside elementary students will remain on a hybrid schedule, but cautioned parents that COVID-19 numbers are getting close to Northside moving their model.

Hall says the school district can’t give an estimated amount of time that the numbers will be low enough to once again move the high school and middle school back to the hybrid model. “The guidance indicates that we would need to see three weeks of the 14-day case number in the mid-to-low twenties,” he said.

Watonwan County’s case rate per 10,000 people went from 45 to 44 last week, according to the latest report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The superintendent closed his letter by asking people associated with the St. James learning community to be diligent in safe practices during the pandemic.

“We are are our solution to preventing the spread within out community and reopening and maintaining our schools for our children,” Hall said.

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