Middle and high school students at Brainerd Public Schools are set to come back to the classroom four days a week.

Superintendent Laine Larson announced the learning model change in a letter to families Thursday, Feb. 4.

Students at Forestview Middle School and Brainerd High School have been distance learning for the past three months but are now set to transition to a modified in-person learning model beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16.

RELATED: Another 1st day of school as 3rd, 4th, 5th graders return to classroom

Fifth graders, who transitioned to hybrid learning Feb. 1, will attend shortened instruction days in-person every day.

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The rest of the middle school students will attend on-site classes four days a week, with Wednesdays as distance learning days for all students to give teachers the time to accommodate all students in distance learning cohorts. With Monday, Feb. 15, as President’s Day, the first week back will have students attending Tuesday-Friday.

High school students will follow the same four-day week as sixth through eighth graders but will not begin that model until Feb. 22.

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Feb. 16-19 will be a transition week for high schoolers, with those in the AA hybrid group attending in person Tuesday and Wednesday, and those in BB group attending Thursday and Friday.

With high school students returning to renovated learning spaces, the transition week will allow them to become familiar with the new spaces, learn their second semester schedules and review safety guidelines.

Families with middle and high school students should watch for letters from their respective principals with more information on the learning model shifts.

RELATED: Bringing back 5th grade: Brainerd school admins discuss in-person learning challenges

Distance learning will still be an option through the end of the school year for students who so choose. Those who have been in distance learning so far are welcome to come back to in-person classes with their grades. Families who want to switch must complete a form at https://bit.ly/EnrollmentChange. Those who have not yet received transportation services this year should call the transportation department at 218-454-6917 to set up service.

Cleaning protocols and PPE

The district continues to follow recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education, the letter stated. As new technologies and products become available, the district will incorporate and improve current processes and procedures to provide the safest learning environments for students and staff. Personal protective equipment is available for every student, educator and staff member. Those who do not have access to appropriate face coverings should contact their building administrators.

Public appeal

“Our deepest desire is to keep students learning in-person and directly with their teachers. In an effort to do this, we must remain diligent at slowing the spread of COVID-19 when in school and out in the public,” Larson wrote in her letter, encouraging the public to do the following:

  • Stay home when sick, wear face coverings over the mouth and when in public, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, maintain 6 feet of social distance and implement recommended mitigation strategies.

  • Use caution with activities outside of the school setting, (ex. Super Bowl parties, social gatherings, birthday parties, etc.), as these actions directly impact the ability for a school to stay in-person, especially when 6 feet social distancing is not being maintained.

“Again, I sincerely thank you for your support in helping our children learn this school year during the hybrid, distance, and in-person learning models,” Larson wrote. “It really is a ‘Fabulous February,’ when we can celebrate Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and most of all - ‘Returning our Students to In-Person Learning at Brainerd Public Schools!’”