C-I High School immediately switching to distance learning, K-8 students anticipated to follow in near future

Updated information: All K-8 grade levels will transition to full distance learning beginning Nov. 18. There will be no school on Nov. 16-17 to allow for teachers to implement their Distance Learning Plans.

In his weekly updates for which learning model Cambridge-Isanti Schools will be in, Superintendent Dr. Nate Rudolph states they “are prepared to make changes at a moment’s notice.” Those words proved prophetic as on Monday, Nov. 9, just four days after announcing the entire district would remain in a hybrid learning model, a new announcement was made stating the high school, plus Isanti Primary School’s Early Childhood Special Education and preschool will immediately switch to a full distance learning model.

“Like the rest of the state, the community spread for COVID-19 is setting new records every day,” Dr. Rudolph said in a message to parents. “As our county case rates have continued to soar, changes in our learning models are imminent.”

Dr. Rudolph stated that contact tracing has caused an increase in school staff and students to be quarantined, which puts additional pressure on the schools. He gave the example that if a student tests positive and it is discovered they were in school when they were contagious, all of that student’s teachers would then have to enter a 14-day quarantine.

Because of the number of staff and students already in quarantine, the decision was made to immediately switch the two school levels to distance learning. There was no school for students in those levels on Tuesday, Nov. 10 and Wednesday, Nov. 11 in order for staff to finalize their Distance Learning Plan. Additionally, the High School’s Online School did not have classes those two days in order for their teachers to help in implementing the Distance Learning Plan for all students.

Despite the high school going to distance learning, however, Dr. Rudolph stated activities and athletics could proceed as scheduled.

“We plan to continue to allow students to participate in high school athletics and activities, if they so choose,” Dr. Rudolph said. “The choice to participate will remain with the students and parents, unless there is a specific outbreak that affects any team or activity.”

For the time being, the rest of the district will remain in their current hybrid model, however Dr. Rudolph cautioned that too may change.

“With the county case rates rising, we anticipate moving into a Distance Learning model for all students in the near future (as soon as next week),” Dr. Rudolph concluded. “We encourage everyone to make plans for back-up child care, homework spaces and building at-home learning routines. Our learning models were built to minimize disruption as much as possible when shifts are made, but it is inevitable that these moves are difficult for many.”

Dr. Rudolph said the district will be consulting with public health officials to determine how long students will be kept in the distance learning, however it is anticipated to last at least through the end of the first trimester, which ends on Thursday, Dec. 3.

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