Area school districts prepare for closures in weeks ahead

School districts including Brainerd and Aitkin are asking families to fill out student needs surveys so administrators can decide what kinds of services are needed while schools are closed.

Allie Jo Wasson (left), helps her friend Amber Pierson clean out her locker Monday, March 16, at Crosby-Ironton High School. Students were encouraged to clean out their lockers and expect to be away from school. The school is in session again Tuesday but a small number of the students are expected to attend. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Roughly half of the Crosby-Ironton School District’s 1,000 students showed up to school Monday, March 16, ahead of the statewide mandated school closure beginning later this week.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday all K-12 Minnesota schools are to close by Wednesday, March 18. Schools had the option to remain open Monday and Tuesday.

Crosby-Ironton opted to do that.

“What we wanted to do is get our students in school; we wanted to start preparing them, what's going to be happening over the course of the next at least eight days,” Superintendent Jamie Skjeveland said Monday. “I know a number of our students, they're taking educational resources home, they're taking their Chromebooks home, and they're just getting ready for the next eight days.”

Skjeveland said he expected even fewer students in class Tuesday.


Student needs surveys

School districts including Brainerd and Aitkin are asking families to fill out student needs surveys so administrators can decide what kinds of services are needed while schools are closed. Brainerd’s survey is available at , and Aitkin’s is available at .

Little Falls, Pequot to provide child care

Little Falls Community School District is providing child care for families of health care and emergency workers after Walz recently ordered schools closed.

The district will provide child care for school-aged children 12 and under who are enrolled in Little Falls Community Schools, according to the information posted on the district’s website.

Child care started at 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Lindbergh Elementary School. Proof from an employer is required to validate qualification for the child care service in Morrison County.

Those interested in the district-based child care service must contact the school district office at 320-632-2002 as soon as possible and before the child is brought to Lindbergh Elementary School.

The Lindbergh Elementary School child care program that began Tuesday is available to health care workers, nursing and assisted-living employees, home care workers, patient care assistants, law enforcement, firefighters, ambulance and emergency personnel, corrections workers, first responders, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical services workers, state and public health agency workers, county case managers and county staff in emergency management or health and human services.


The Pequot Lakes School District will also begin providing care Wednesday for children of health care and emergency workers along with school district personnel. Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. with regular bus transportation available. Contact the Eagle View Elementary School office at 218-562-6100 to register and see the school’s website for details.

Central Lakes College

Classes at Central Lakes College are canceled for an additional week, with March 30 as the tentative date to start up again.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities announced last week the decision to add a second week of spring break for all its schools. This additional week without classes will still be considered spring break, according to a letter from CLC President Hara Charlier sent to students Monday. No instruction — including online classes — will occur during this time.

“This will allow our students with families time to adapt to implications of public school closure and our faculty additional time to determine how best to resume classes on 3/30 in alternate formats,” Charlier wrote. “We realize that the dynamic nature of this situation creates uncertainty and many questions. Rest assured that we are committed to the health and safety of all members of the college community and will continue to work through details and keep you updated.”

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THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .


Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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