COVID-19 outbreak drives BHS into distance learning
High school students are expected to return to their hybrid schedule Oct. 8.
All Brainerd High School students will begin distance learning Thursday, Sept. 24, after the school district announced a cluster of COVID-19 cases. There will be no high school classes Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Superintendent Laine Larson sent the following letter out to high school families Tuesday, Sept. 22:
"I am writing to keep you informed about important district-level decisions that have been made regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our school district. During the past week, students in grades 9-12 encountered a proven and growing cluster of positive COVID-19 cases within our student body.
"The school district has diligently completed contact tracing for students and staff who have come in contact with COVID-19 to date; however, our current cluster has grown to a point where we cannot contact trace each person involved within the positive cluster exposure. Through the process of our contract tracing, it has become clear that the rapid transmission of these positive cases occurred outside of school during social gatherings.
"In consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health, high school classes in grades 9-12 at Brainerd High School, Lincoln Education Center, and Brainerd Learning Center will be canceled for Wednesday, September 23, 2020. This will allow teachers to prepare for full-time distance learning. On Thursday, September 24, 2020 high school classes at BHS, LEC, and BLC will be 'reset' into a distance learning model for two weeks. Students will return in the hybrid model with B-group students on Thursday, October 8, 2020. During the two week 'reset' time, teachers and students will follow the hybrid learning bell schedule. If anything changes, we will keep you informed.
"As per guidelines of the 2020 Minnesota Safe Learning Plan document, during this two week 'reset,' period, all Brainerd High School sponsored athletics and activities will be postponed or cancelled. There will be no in-person practices or competitions during this time. Coaches and advisors will reach out to their athletes and participants. Students who are in quarantine or have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis will not be allowed to participate until they meet the MDH guidelines.
"We understand that this may create unease in our community. We have taken action to clean and sanitize the facility and are working closely with MDH to monitor the situation. We are asking all members of our community to minimize the spread of illness by taking the following actions:
- Protect yourself and others by wearing a face covering; social distance by staying six-feet away from others; wash your hands often with soap and water; cover your cough and sneeze; and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home. Keep enough food, regular prescription drugs, and other necessities on hand in case you need to stay home and are not able to go out easily.
- Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces (e.g., telephones, doorknobs, countertops, etc.).
- If symptoms develop, stay home and consult with your health care provider to determine if medical evaluation is needed.
"As we prepare for this 'reset' period, please ensure that your student has all necessary learning devices and materials at home. This is a challenging time and I know many of you may be feeling stress or anxiety. We will get through this together as a community and will be stronger when we emerge. Thank you."
This is a developing story. Check back later at www.brainerddispatch.com for more details.