Duluth Public Schools to families, staff: Brace for distance learning

Superintendent John Magas also expressed resolve in the face of a pandemic wave, hoping for a positive turnaround in February.

Duluth Public Schools
Adelle Whitefoot / Duluth News Tribune

As COVID-19 numbers climb and stricter safety measures resume across the landscape, the superintendent of Duluth Public Schools told students and families to brace for distance learning on short notice in a statement Friday.

Superintendent John Magas also announced the district would be sending home testing kits with students and staff.

John Magas
John Magas

“We have continued to update our safe learning plan, and are monitoring numbers closely,” Magas said. “We are again in the midst of a very challenging time, however, the experts we are consulting with forecast that it will be relatively brief, with significant improvement in February.”

Magas said the district was monitoring multiple criteria, including positivity rates inside the schools, and the ability to fully staff schools and, in particular, crisis-level instructors.

Regarding distance learning, “the district would seek to give as much time to prepare as possible, but the need to shift may come with little notice,” the District 709 news release said.


The district maintained its priority throughout the year has been to provide in-person learning, while admitting to “many days the district has been impacted in that effort by staffing shortages and safety concerns with the rapidly changing COVID rates."

This week the Northland reported the highest seven-day total since 2020 — 2,750 new COVID-19 cases Jan. 7-13.

“Though the district wants to continue offering in-person learning,” the news release said. “It is important that staff, students, and families prepare for the possibility of distance learning should it become necessary.”

Students are transitioning into online instruction due to a continued increase in COVID-19-related absences among students and staff.

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