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From the Superintendent - MS/HS Distance Learning

 

Hermantown Parents,

 

It’s with deep regret that we inform our families and staff of the need to shift to distance learning for grades 5-12 in Hermantown Community Schools. We have been working hard to keep our students in school this year and have done excellent work implementing precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our schools. Despite our efforts, COVID rates have increased throughout the county and are in the midst of a rapid spike. This spike has led to large scale quarantine of students and staff and is crippling our ability to provide in-person schooling. We had sincerely hoped to keep our students in some form of learning in-person for as long as possible. Please know that we will monitor the situation closely and will consider a shift back to an in-person model as soon as we are reasonably able. 

 

Grades 5-12 will shift to full distance learning beginning on Monday, November 16th.  Please keep an eye on future communication from the schools regarding distance learning format, food service, extracurricular activities and emergency childcare guidelines for qualifying families. Students in grade K- 4 will remain in the same hybrid-learning model at this point.

 

It is not the case rate alone that is pushing us to distance learning. The rapid spike in cases, along with quarantine requirements for close contacts, has left our district with severe staff shortages. We have seen districts in northeastern Minnesota close down grade levels or buildings due to staff shortage. Unfortunately, we are now in a similar circumstance. Our ability to safely staff our classrooms is at a breaking point and is trending in the wrong direction. Out of interest for public safety and considering our ability to provide sufficient staffing for our schools, we will enter into distance learning for the time being. We will continue to monitor county case rates and our ability to staff our buildings effectively. We will move back to a less restrictive model as soon as we are reasonably able to do so. At present, we do not have any advance idea of when a shift back to in-person instruction will be possible. 

 

Wayne Whitwam

Superintendent
Hermantown Community Schools