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Albert Lea school district to transition to distance learning

Albert Lea Area Schools officials announced Monday they will switch to distance learning next week for all students amid rising COVID-19 cases in the district and Freeborn County. 

The district said the decision does not come lightly, but was made after consultation with officials from the Freeborn County Public Health Department and the district’s COVID-19 team.

According to the district’s website, there were 24 active cases in the school district as of Monday.

The county health department reported 49 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 16 on Sunday, though no new cases were reported on Monday. Eighteen of the new cases on Saturday were people ages 10-20.

The district said Nov. 18 through Nov. 20 will be planning days for elementary school staff, and there will be no school for students in voluntary pre-K through grade five.

Nov. 18 will be a planning date for staff in grades six through 12, and there will be no school on that day for those students.

Distance learning classes will begin for students in grades six through 12 on Nov. 19.

Students in all grade levels will be on distance learning Nov. 23 and 24 and then from Nov. 3 through Dec. 4 after Thanksgiving break.

Students in the district’s Distance Learning Academy will continue as normal.

The district said a decision will be made regarding the learning model for Dec. 7 by Dec. 3.

In addition to a change in the learning model, all activities after Nov. 17 will be canceled until further notice. In addition, all Community Education classes and community sports activities in school district buildings will be canceled after the same date.

Meals are anticipated to be in the same locations as in the spring, and child care will be available to students in tier 1 qualifying families.