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Distance learning is back for some Cook County schools

The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community has impacted local schools. Great Expectations School in Grand Marais has some students in distance learning now and School District 166 is implementing distance learning next week, from January 18-21.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Chris Lindholm explained that with the current spread of COVID-19 in Cook County, the school district has been hit harder than at any time in the pandemic.

Lindholm said the school district is currently unable to fill all necessary positions and is approaching 50 percent of the student body out due to illness or being a close contact. The superintendent said this is double the well-established pre-COVID threshold for temporarily closing a school due to the flu or other illness.

Factored into the decision is the fact that School District 166 had already scheduled in-service days for teachers, which means no school for students on January 17 and January 24.

Lindholm told parents that the district will implement distance learning from January 18 -21 for all students in all grades. Lindholm explained, “This will provide a ten-day “reset” and hopefully allow for students and staff to return healthy on January 25.”

Schools on the east and west ends of the county—Oshki Ogimaag in Grand Portage and Birch Grove Community School—are currently still able to hold in-person classes.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Superintendent Chris Lindholm about this shift from in-person to distance learning.