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Alden-Conger 6th-12th graders to transition back to distance learning

Alden-Conger Public School announced Wednesday students in sixth through 12th grades will switch to distance learning starting Nov. 10 amidst rising COVID-19 cases in Freeborn County.

The county’s numbers have grown from 13.43 cases per 10,000 people Oct. 15, to 16.05 cases as of Oct. 22, and 22.6 cases in the new numbers being released Thursday. Cases are projected to be over 30 cases per 10,000 people when numbers are released Nov. 5.

“You can see, in the past three weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases has nearly tripled in Freeborn County,” Superintendent Brian Shanks said in a letter to parents. “These cases are from all age groups, and most are not a result of any type of large gathering.”

The transition to distance learning will coincide with the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter. Shanks said if numbers go down, students will return to in-person learning Nov. 30, the Monday after Thanksgiving break.

After discussing the county numbers with the public health nurse, he said the district is confident that students in grades pre-K through fifth grade can stay in school receiving in-person learning. If numbers continue to increase, however, the district may consider moving all students to a more restrictive learning model.

“I know this is not what most of you wanted to hear. …” he said. “But if this is what we need to do to keep all of our students safe, then this is what we will do.”

The district previously shifted to distance learning at the end of September after another increase in new COVID-19 cases throughout the district.