Alexandria Public Schools will transition students in grades 7-12 at Discovery Middle School and Alexandria Area High School to a distance learning model beginning Thursday, Nov. 12, through Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The school district will reevaluate COVID-19 case rate data prior to the Thanksgiving break to determine if metrics would support bringing 7-12 students back to a safe start/hybrid model on Dec. 3.

Pre-K through grade 5 will continue with the in-person learning model. Grade 6 will continue in the safe start/hybrid model.

The Minnesota Safe Learning Plan prioritizes health and safety for school communities and the return of as many students as possible to schools. Each school district is guided to use local COVID-19 case rates to determine their learning models – in-person, hybrid and distance learning.

Based on the changing health needs of the schools and local community, the district is prepared to implement any of these learning models throughout the school year and may need to shift between models as health conditions change.

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The following factors are guiding the decision to shift 7-12 to distance learning:

  • The numbers of staff and students under quarantine due to close contact with confirmed COVID cases continues to follow the trend line of the county case rate data.

  • A shortage of substitute teachers and staff, which means the district does not have enough substitutes to cover absences.

  • Minnesota Department of Education guidelines within the state’s Safe Learning Plan, and feedback from the district’s COVID Advisory Team.

“As community transmission rates have risen, it has become increasingly challenging for the district to adequately staff for in-person learning at the secondary level,” said Superintendent Rick Sansted. “Taking a proactive approach to shifting 7-12 to a more restrictive model allows us to prioritize our youngest learners and provides time for us to recalibrate resources.”