Brainerd Public Schools announced Tuesday, Nov. 10, it will move the rest of its students into the distance learning model.

Students in fifth through 12th grade moved Nov. 5 to the distance learning model and now students in the early learning programs through fourth grade will begin transitioning to distance learning effective Monday, Nov. 16.

Brainerd Superintendent Laine Larson offered details of the move in a letter sent Tuesday to all the parents in the school district.

“On behalf of the Board of Education and the administrative team, it is once again with a heavy heart and out of deep concern for the health and welfare of our school community that I am making the following announcement,” Larson stated. “Brainerd Public Schools students in early learning programs through fourth grade, as students in grades 5-12 who are attending in-person, will begin transitioning to distance learning effective Monday, November 16, 2020.”

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Students attending early learning programs through fourth grade will remain in school on-site for the rest of this week to provide an opportunity for them to meet with their teachers and allow for the pickup of the necessary learning resources currently at school.

Teachers will use Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 16-17, as planning days so there will be no school for students in the early learning programs through fourth grade for students who attend on-site or virtually. Distance learning will officially begin with teachers on Nov. 18.

Students in grades five through 12th will continue to participate in distance learning throughout the elementary school transition period and until further notice, the school reported.

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To continue timely connections, the district will send out bi-monthly updates to communicate learning model changes for all students throughout this uncharted period of time, Larson stated in the letter.

The extensive details of this most recent change, including information for students in early learning and special education programs at all levels, will be announced Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 11.

“In the meantime, we know staff and families will have many questions,” Larson stated. “We request that you hold on to those questions until after the details are released on Wednesday in order to give our leadership team the time needed to address and finalize the plans we have been developing but hoped we would never need to implement. Included in those details will be directions for submitting any questions that remain unanswered after you review the information.”

Wednesday’s detailed communication will also address recent updates that will impact Brainerd students in fifth through 12th grade.

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“Our work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, maintaining 6-8 ft. social distance, avoiding large gatherings, practicing good hand hygiene, holding virtual meetings and staying home when feeling ill have helped keep our early learning through elementary students in school for 10 precious weeks,” Larson stated. “As stated in the Brainerd Safe Learning Plan communication, it was a major goal to keep our youngest learners in the hybrid model for as long as possible and we feel we were successful in doing just that.

“I am confident that our staff are now better prepared and equipped to provide high quality distance learning instruction until we can safely and enthusiastically bring all students back into our buildings for the hybrid learning model once COVID-19 cases notably reduce in our schools, county and state. Thank you for your unending support for high quality education for all learners at Brainerd Public Schools and please stay strong, courageous, patient, and most of all — healthy.”