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Harbor City International School announces move to 5 weeks of distance learning

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

Harbor City International School
Krissa Boman, of Duluth, demonstrates how to complete the square while writing out an equation Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at Harbor City International School in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Harbor City International School announced in a email to parents Friday that students will start distance learning Thursday for five weeks.

In the same email, Harbor City said the decision was made due to "the increasing number of students and staff out for COVID related reasons" while following their COVID coordinator, who has been monitoring regional data on the pandemic.

Tim Tydlacka, executive director of Harbor City, said as student and staff COVID-related absences continued to mount, they had to decide whether to push through with their short list of substitute teachers or transition into distance learning now.

Tydlacka said around 25% of students and staff were absent as of Thursday.

Tydlacka said he can't confirm if all student absences are due to COVID, but nearly all staff absences are COVID-related.

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After seeing negative impacts on learning and student mental health during sustained periods of distance learning over the pandemic, going back online is a move school leaders are still reluctant to take.

School is canceled for students Tuesday as teachers transition their classrooms online.

Starting Friday, students will be sent home with Chromebooks and other supplies. Students who need additional supplies can find them in their classrooms Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The email stated teachers are prepared to go back to in-person learning when COVID numbers decrease throughout the region.

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