Superintendent John Magas and the Duluth Public Schools COVID-19 response team met with the Minnesota Department of Education and Department of Health on Monday to discuss the district’s Return to Learn plan for elementary school students.

New guidance released by the state of Minnesota in December prioritizes in-person learning for elementary school students. Districts in Minnesota can bring their young students back to in-person learning beginning Jan. 18 as long as the district offers on-site COVID-19 saliva testing every two weeks to staff members who come in contact with students as well as other mitigation requirements.

Magas told the News Tribune the Department of Education and Department of Health supported the district’s plan to bring elementary school students back to in-person learning five days a week by Feb. 8.

Grades K-2 will begin in-person classes Jan. 25. Grades 3-5 will follow Feb. 8.

The two-week delay is due to state guidance that requires no more than three grades be reintroduced into the building in a two-week period.

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Because elementary school students will be returning to five days a week in-person learning for the first time since March 2020, the district is asking parents to fill out a preferred learning model form. The form can be found at isd709.org/updates/in-person-learning and is due by Friday.