The Cloquet Public Schools announced on their website on Wednesday that the district will be shifting to virtual learning. The at home learning will begin next week for grades 7-12, and K-6 will follow shortly after.

The announcement expresses deep regret from Superintendent Dr. Michael Cary that the choice had to be made. He says they have been making every effort to implement precautions and have done excellent work within the schools. However, a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Carlton County has led to large scale quarantining of staff and students.

All grade levels will be learning from at home now. They will closely monitor the situation and consider going back to in class learning as soon as they are reasonably able.

Monday November 10 is already a scheduled day off for students. Grades 7-12 will begin the shift to virtual learning at home on Tuesday, November 10.  K-6 will continue in person at school learning through Wednesday, November 11. Then there will be no school for K-6 students on Thursday November 12 and Friday November 13 to allow staff to prepare for virtual learning. The first day of virtual learning for grades K-6 will be Monday, November 16. The superintendent also says in the announcement that the at home learning will look significantly different than last spring.

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It had appeared that the safety precautions implemented by the school had been working. The spread of the coronavirus had been fairly under control. They were hopeful they could maintain in person learning, but recently Carlton County COVID-19 went from an average of 5 new cases per day to now 25-30 new cases per day. They anticipate the county rate of infections to cross the 50 out of 10,000 statistic in coming weeks. Dr. Cary adds that it is not the only deciding factor for making the shift. The rapid spike in cases has caused a severe staff shortage due to quarantining guidelines. The ability to staff classes is near a breaking point.

While they will evaluate and consider a reasonable return to less restrictive learning, they do not have an idea of when that might be.