Students at an elementary school in Chisholm will move to distance learning for more than 2 weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 through its classrooms.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, Vaughan-Steffensrud Elementary School officials said the school will close Thursday, Sept. 16 to Monday, Oct. 4. During that time, students will continue to take classes remotely.

"Given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases with substantial classroom transmission in the Vaughan-Steffensrud Elementary School, St. Louis County Public Health is recommending a move to distance learning for a 14-day incubation period in order to protect your students and faculty from further transmission," principal Jeff Hancock and nurse Nancy Erickson wrote in the letter.

Only Vaughan-Steffensrud, which teaches kindergarten through third grade students, will go remote. Chisholm's other elementary and high school are not affected.

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"During this 14-day period, families should self-quarantine from activities and group gathering to help minimize further transmission," the letter said.

Chisholm School District Superintendent Adrian Norman would not provide the News Tribune with additional information on the closure or answer questions about the number of sick children or if the district will revisit its optional mask policy. In an email, Norman referred the News Tribune to the district website where no information about the closure was posted as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The most recent COVID-19 update, a letter Norman sent to families on Aug. 10, said the Chisholm School Board unanimously backed a "'mask optional' protocol" for the school year; however, Norman wrote that "We strongly recommend and encourage the use of masks."

News of the closure was first reported by CBS 3.