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Albert Lea High School to switch to distance learning for a week after a dozen new cases reported

Albert Lea Area Schools announced Thursday afternoon it will move all high schoolers to distance learning for a week after receiving a report of 14 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district.

Of the new cases, 12 attend the high school and two attend the middle school.

The district said nine of the 12 cases at the high school were related to a single event from this past weekend unassociated with the district. Although most of the positive cases had no contact with students in school, the district does not know who the individuals were interacting with in the wider community.

In consultation with public health officials, the district has decided to pause hybrid learning for one week at the high school and revisit the decision next Thursday, Sept. 24. There will be no virtual classes tomorrow for the high schoolers as teachers prepare to teach virtually next week.

All high school activities for next week are also canceled.

Classes at Brookside Education Center, all four elementary schools, Southwest Middle School and the Area Learning Center will remain in session.

The district said breakfast and lunch pickup will be available for free for students at the middle school’s Door 4 and the high school’s Door 59. Breakfast and lunch are available from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to noon.

“We ask for the support of the public for our staff and students during these challenging times,” a notice from the district stated. “Please emphasize social distancing and mask usage, and refrain from large gatherings.”