Middle school and high school students at Brainerd Public Schools will all move to distance learning Thursday, Nov. 5.

Superintendent Laine Larson notified families of the change with a letter Thursday, Oct. 29.

“On behalf of the Board of Education and the administrative team, it is with a heavy heart and out of deep concern for the health of our school community that I am making the following announcement, ‘Students in grades 5-12 at Brainerd Public Schools will begin distance learning, effective Thursday, November 5, 2020.’”

In the meantime, students in group B will attend school on-site Friday, Oct. 30, while those in group A will attend in person Monday, Nov. 2.

The school district reported this change will provide an opportunity for all students in grades 5-12 to meet one more time with their teachers and allow for the pickup of any necessary learning resources that are at school. Tuesday, Nov. 3 and Wednesday, Nov. 4 will be teacher planning days with no students in attendance, either on-site or virtually, Larson stated in the release. Scheduled extracurricular activities will continue during planning days.

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“The details of this change, including information for secondary special education students and extracurricular activities, will be announced in the afternoon on Friday, October 30,” Larson reported. “We know staff and families will have many questions in the meantime. We request that you hold onto them until after the details are released on Friday 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.

“Our work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, avoiding large gatherings, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home when feeling ill have helped keep our secondary students in school for eight precious weeks. By continuing these measures we hope to keep our children, up to grade four, in the existing hybrid model for as long as possible.

“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 students back into our buildings for the hybrid learning model, due to notably reduced COVID-19 cases. Thank you for your support for high quality education for all at Brainerd Public Schools. In the meantime, please stay strong, courageous, patient, and most of all — healthy.”