The Wadena-Deer Creek, Menahga and Sebeka Public School Districts are beginning their transition to distance learning.
Students in 7-12 grade will begin distance learning on Monday, Nov. 16 and continue through at least Nov. 30. Pre-K-6th grade students will remain in-person.
"This decision was made due to an increase in positive COVID tests in students in grades 7-12, staffing difficulties related to COVID and the high rates of community spread in our area," said Superintendent Lee Westrum in a letter to parents and guardians. "At this time, we plan to continue with athletics on a sport-by-sport basis, dependent upon positive COVID tests and the number of participants/coaches in quarantine for each particular sport."
There will be no school for Pre-K-12th grade on Thursday, Nov. 12 though parent-teacher conferences will continue as scheduled. A scheduled day of no school is also on Friday, Nov. 13.
Lunch and breakfast can be picked up free of charge at the middle/high school north bus loop from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for every day school is in session, according to the letter.
Students in Pre-K-6th grade remain in-person since there have been no student positive COVID-19 cases at the elementary, there are small class sizes and big rooms and students are in cohorts throughout the day.
Menahga 9-12 grade students are completing distance learning Tuesday, Nov. 10 and Wednesday, Nov. 11 with the remainder of the week already including virtual conferences and a staff development day. Students will hopefully return to in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 16. Pre-K-8th grade students will remain in-person.
The transition comes due to staffing shortages, according to a school Facebook post. Out of 170 staff members two are out for having tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 are in quarantine. Out of 755 in-person learners two students are out for having tested positive and over 100 are in quarantine.
"The quarantine of close contacts can have a huge impact on us even though those contacts have not been testing positive," said Superintendent Kevin Wellen in the post on Nov. 9.
Sebeka students in grades 6-12 will start distance learning on Monday, Nov. 16. In-person learning will continue on Nov. 10 and 11 along with staff inservice and parent-teacher conferences on Thursday, Nov. 12. There is no school on Friday, Nov. 13.
The 6-12 graders will continue distance learning through Thanksgiving break and hopefully return in-person on Nov. 30, according to a school Facebook post. Meals will be available for pickup; contact the food service department to sign up.
Preschool-5th grade will continue in-person with meals and transportation still provided.