Crosslake Community School is joining other schools in the lakes area making the move to distance learning while COVID-19 cases surge.

After looking at case numbers in the county, Cliff Skagen, director of the public charter school, said they can only go so high before it’s time to make a change.

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Crosslake began the year with in-person classes for all who chose that model. But with the number of students enrolled, Skagen said the school was able to follow the state’s hybrid model in terms of capacity and social distancing.

The school has seen a few COVID-19 cases, he said, and has had a number of quarantines and isolations for students and staff members, including one classroom quarantining in early November due to exposure.

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Staffing is a concern as well, as it is with many schools across the state.

“It’s the cooks, it’s the paras, it’s the teachers,” Skagen said. “And if we have a number of classrooms, or one classroom that’s even out, it really just throws everything off.”

And even though teachers can work remotely, someone still has to supervise the classroom.

Parents have been understanding, Skagen said, as the change is something many could see coming. He feels distance learning will run smoother than it did last spring, as teachers had much more time to prepare.

Child care will be offered for children of Tier 1 workers, and staff will deliver breakfasts and lunches to students who need it. Tier 1 workers include those in health care, public health, law enforcement, public safety, food and agriculture, judicial, National Guard, education and child care.

Students are not expected to come back until after the winter break, Skagen said.

“Our parents have worked really hard at making our in-person model work,” he said. “So we want to get back to the in-person model, but to do that we need everybody in our community to follow the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and the governor’s office so we can lower those numbers and get back in the classroom.”



THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.