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COVID-19 in schools decreases due to distance learning

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, 12% of public schools statewide are in person at all grades.

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With many school districts switching to distance learning this month, only one school building was placed on the Minnesota Department of Health's outbreak list Friday: Apple Valley High School in Dakota County.

The outbreak list now totals 186 school buildings statewide, including eight from the Northland .

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.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, 12% of public schools statewide are in person at all grades; 11% are in hybrid at all grades; 39% are in full distance learning; and 38% are using a combination of the three models.


Based on the 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents and the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, it's likely those distance learning may be doing so for a while and those still holding a model of in-person classes may end up switching.

This number is used to help guide schools when choosing a learning model.

If the 14-day case rate is consistently at or above 30, the Minnesota Department of Education recommends switching secondary students to distance learning. At or above 50, it recommends switching all students to distance learning.

All schools work closely with county health officials as well as the Minnesota Department of Health to get more localized numbers and to help determine which model is right for each district.

The 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents Nov. 1-14 in Northland counties, released by the Minnesota Department of Health on Friday.

  • Aitkin, 183.78
  • Carlton, 177.55
  • Cook, 37.79
  • Itasca, 126.76
  • Lake, 119.22
  • St. Louis, 112.84

Current 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents, according to News Tribune calculations, for the Northland:

  • Aitkin, 198.49
  • Carlton, 190.07
  • Cook, 45.77
  • Itasca, 124.55
  • Lake, 177.77
  • St. Louis, 153.41

From Nov. 15-24, there were 1,600 more positive COVID-19 cases in schools statewide, with 699 new cases among staff and 832 new cases among students. Statewide, 120 more school buildings reported at least one new case of COVID-19.
From Nov. 8-21, 530 school buildings reported one confirmed case of COVID-19, 409 reported two to four confirmed cases and 102 reported more than five.


Statewide among ages 0-19, the 15- to 19-year-olds had the biggest increase over the past week with 3,186 new cases, which accounts for 8.03% of new cases among all age groups.

New cases over the past week in other age groups:

  • 0-4 β€” 937; 1.88%
  • 5-9 β€” 1,252; 2.31%
  • 10-14 β€” 1,885; 3.6%

The 20-24 age group continues to have the biggest increase in new cases over the past week with 3,770 new cases making up 10.9% of all new cases. Close behind are ages 25-30 with 3,669 news COVID-19 cases, or 9.23%, of all news cases over the past week.
More localized age numbers were unavailable due to the holiday weekend.

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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