Two Harbors High School will begin distance learning Monday after having eight positive COVID-19 cases in the past week.
Jay Belcastro, principal at Two Harbors High School and acting superintendent for the Lake Superior School District, said the school had its first case Oct. 21. After talking with Lake County Public Health officials, he said, they decided to move to distance learning for two weeks. Two Harbors High School is currently in hybrid learning.
William Kelley High School in Silver Bay switched to distance learning this week due to two positive cases. Belcastro said they are still expecting the seventh through 12th graders to resume hybrid learning Nov. 9.
Also, the 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents in Lake County released Thursday was 28.38. If that number starts constantly being at or above 30, the Minnesota Department of Education recommends switching secondary students to distance learning.
The rate is used to guide schools on what learning model would be best.
Belcastro said once the rate hits 30, the district will consult with health officials to determine if distance learning is necessary, as the transmission of COVID-19 within the schools is nonexistent at this point. Lake Superior School District is the only school district in Lake County.
Most cases in Lake County have been in the Two Harbors ZIP code. Since Oct. 1, Two Harbors has seen 43 new cases, with 19 of them being reported in the past week. Silver Bay has had six new cases since Oct. 1. Beaver Bay, Finland and Isabella have had fewer than five cases since March and Knife River has had six.
Itasca County’s 14-day case rate dropped from 51.77 to 47.78, while Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties all saw an increase. For Oct. 4-17, Aitkin County was at 31.58; Carlton was at 20.54; Cook County jumped from 1.88 to 7.53; greater St. Louis County jumped from 25.5 to 37.6; Duluth area was at 34.2 and St. Louis County as a whole jumped from 29.8 to 35.6.
The Department of Health did not make any new Northland additions to its list this week. A school building is put on the list if it reports five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in a building while infectious during a two-week reporting period. The building is removed after 28 days of no new positive tests.
As of Thursday, 13 new school buildings were added to the list and two were removed for a total of 43 (Isanti Middle School in Isanti County and Hinckley Elementary School in Pine County were removed):
Anoka High School in Anoka County.
Blaine High School in Anoka County.
St. Francis High School in Anoka County.
Roosevelt Elementary School in Becker County.
Loyola Catholic School in Blue Earth County.
Washington Elementary in Blue Earth County.
Chanhassen High School in Carver County.
Pillager Senior High School in Cass County.
Chisago Lakes Senior High School in Chisago County.
North Branch Area Education Center in Chisago County.
Barnesville Secondary in Clay County.
Horizon Middle School in Clay County.
Brainerd Senior High School in Crow Wing County.
St. Thomas Academy in Dakota County.
Hayfield Secondary in Dodge County.
Blue Earth Area Secondary in Faribault County.
Albert Lea Senior High School in Freeborn County.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Hennepin County.
Eden Prairie Senior High School in Hennepin County.
Maple Grove Senior High School in Hennepin County.
Park Center IB World School in Hennepin County.
Providence Academy in Hennepin County.
Grand Rapids Senior High School in Itasca County.
Roosevelt Elementary in Kandiyohi County.
Willmar Senior High School in Kandiyohi County.
Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School in Martin County.
Martin Luther High School in Martin County.
St. Paul Lutheran School in Martin County.
Princeton High School in Mille Lacs County.
Parkers Prairie Secondary in Otter Tail County.
Southwest Christian in Pipestone County.
East Grand Forks Senior High School in Polk County.
Redwood Valley Middle School in Redwood County.
Greenbush-Middle River High School in Roseau County.
Mountain Iron-Buhl Schools in St. Louis County.
Albany Area High School in Stearns County.
Melrose Secondary in Stearns County.
Rocori Senior High in Stearns County.
Sauk Centre High School in Stearns County.
Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Elementary School in Todd County.
Forest Lake Area High School in Washington County.
Mahtomedi Senior High School in Washington County.
Breckenridge Senior High School in Wilkin County.
From Oct. 18-24, there were 526 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 245 new cases among staff and 281 new cases among students. Statewide, 220 more school buildings reported at least one new case of COVID-19.
From Oct. 11-24, 423 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 156 reported two to four confirmed cases and 19 reported more than five.