The McGregor Area School District announced Wednesday afternoon that its elementary school would move to a full, distance-learning model in response to a positive COVID-19 test.

Full distance learning is set to start Thursday, Sept. 24, and last two weeks. During that time, the school will take extra precautions to sanitize the affected areas. Classes at the elementary school level are expected to resume Oct. 12.

According to a press release from McGregor Superintendent Brad Johnson and a separate release from the Aitkin County Health and Human Services department, an elementary school staff member (who remains unidentified) has a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19.

That staff member was last in the school Sept. 17, according to the HHS press release.

"The infected individual is a staff member who is currently isolated per the directions of MDH," read the press release. "As a staff person, this individual had a great deal of contact with elementary level school staff."

Because of that, a large number of staff members are quarantined, Johnson explained in his notification to district residents. With the staffing issues, the district is going to the distance-learning model.

"We feel all the kids are safe," Johnson said in telephone interview Wednesday. "We're going into distance learning at this time because we're having a hard time finding substitutes."

Johnson also said the high school is not impacted.

"There's really no interaction there," Johnson explained. While one building, the elementary school and high school are on separate sides of the building.

District parents were going to be sent information Wednesday on how to participate in distance learning.

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