Alexandria Public Schools sent out a letter on Tuesday morning to families saying pre-K to sixth grade classes will be switching to distance learning until at least Dec. 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Nov. 23, there will be no school for students in pre-K to fifth grade. That day will be used as a preparation day for staff and teachers. Grades 6-12 will be in full distance learning on Nov. 23.

In the letter sent out to the families, several factors forced the hand of the district. Many staff members are in quarantine from close contact or pending test results, which is creating more challenges within the schools. The number of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 is increasing as the case count in Douglas County continues to rise. The data in the community and the school buildings raised concerns for people's safety inside the schools.

Students who require special education services will continue to receive those as outlined in their contingency learning plan. These services are designed to provide each student with the opportunity to access their education and special education services through a distance learning model.

Each student has been provided with a district-issued Chromebook during this distance-learning period. Students in secondary classes will use Google Meet, Schoology and Google Drive programs as their primary instructional tools during this time. Students in PreK-5 classes will also use Google Meet along with SeeSaw.

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On Friday, Nov. 20, the district will send students home with breakfast and lunch meals. Students will have the option to pick up meals for days off during the holiday break. The pick-up time will be available starting Nov. 25, from 12-1 p.m.

The school would like to remind families that there will still be no classes on Nov. 30. That will be a planned professional development day for staff.

The district plans to reevaluate the distance learning strategy ahead of Dec. 4. They plan to look at the COVID-19 data points, gather input from their advisory team and communicate to staff and families about the Dec. 7-22 schedules before Thanksgiving.