To: Constituents in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties:

We’re writing to you today to ask for your help.

We are four weeks into the year and already schools in our seven-county region have had to adjust their learning models from either in-person to hybrid or hybrid to distance learning due to sharp increases in positive COVID-19 cases. This is disappointing for everyone involved.

We have been given requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health that we are following, and it is working. Across the state, there has been minimal transmission within schools. However, officials at MDH have said the COVID-19 virus is, for the most part, spreading outside of school – transmission is happening in community settings and at family and social gatherings.

We want our kids in school as much as possible. You, the great people in our communities, have said you also want our kids in school. We know of only one way that gives us the best chance at safely keeping our kids in school, sports, and activities.

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We need your help. This information is nothing you haven’t already heard, but bears repeating as it’s going to take all of us to make a difference. Please – help us keep cases low and our kids in school by following the very clear guidelines offered by MDH:

  • Avoid crowds.
  • Keep family and social gatherings outdoors.
  • Stay 6 feet from others.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stay home when sick.

Do it for our kids.


Dan Stifter, Aitkin Public Schools

Eric Koep, Bertha-Hewitt Public School

Laine Larson, Brainerd Public Schools

Scott Vedbraaten, Browerville Public School

Jamie Skjeveland, Crosby-Ironton School District

Eric Weber, Freshwater Education District

Stephen Jones, Little Falls Community Schools

Jon Kringen, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle School District

Kevin Wellen, Menahga Public School District

Gregg Parks, Nevis Public School

Patrick Rendle, Northland Community Schools

Lance Bagstad, Park Rapids Area Schools

Chris Lindholm, Pequot Lakes Public Schools

George Weber, Pierz Public Schools

Michael Malmberg, Pillager Public Schools

Jonathan Clark, Pine River-Backus Schools

John A. Phelps, Royalton Public Schools

David Fjeldheim, Sebeka School District

Eugene Harthan, Swanville Public Schools

Vern Capelle, Upsala Area School District

Paul Brownlow, Verndale Public School

Eric Pingrey, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Public Schools

Lee Westrum, Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools