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School District 166
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CCHS football game canceled due to COVID-19 spike at Bigfork School District

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a school district in northern Minnesota led to the cancellation of the Cook County Vikings upcoming football game.

The Vikings were set to travel to Bigfork for a football game on Friday, Sept. 24. However, School District 166 Athletic Director Mitch Dorr announced this week that the game is being called off.

WTIP has learned the game was canceled due to a spike in the number of positive COVID-19 cases at the Bigfork/Grand Rapids School District.

In August the Big Fork/Grand Rapids School District made the decision to begin the new school year with masks strongly recommended, but not required for staff and students.

At that time, Superintendent Matt Grose said that the decision was subject to change based on recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC.

The school district established a COVID-19 dashboard to “aid the district in decisions regarding coronavirus mitigation measures, including masking and quarantine requirements.”

The dashboard, updated September 21 reports 33 student cases and eight staff cases of COVID-19 in the Bigfork/Grand Rapids School District.

The school website also states: “If the virus starts to peak in a classroom, grade-level, or school, we will require masks in that space. Hopefully, masking requirements will only be necessary on a short-term basis.”

However, no such announcement has been made at the school yet regarding the requirement to wear masks. In a letter sent to some parents notifying them of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in their student’s learning community, the school district stated, “We recommend that all people in our learning environment wear a mask or face covering.”

The Bigfork/Grand Rapids School District is in Itasca County, which has a cumulative total of COVID-19 cases of 5,119 and 71 deaths. Itasca County has a 47 percent rate of people who are considered fully vaccinated.