Last week the State of Minnesota released the guidelines for reopening school safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools can offer in-person learning for all students if the rate is below 10 per 10,000 people.

Once the rate starts to go over that, the rules tend to favor keeping elementary school students in school as much as possible, while older kids move to hybrid or distance learning. Research has shown more limited transmission of COVID-19 in younger children, and distance learning tends to be more difficult with younger learners.

Middle schools and high schools would have to move to hybrid learning once the rate is above 10 per 10,0000. Elementary schools are not required to do that until it is above 20 per 10,000.

If the COVID rate is above 50, all students are required to do full-time distance learning.

If school started today:

Minnesota advises schools to consider county COVID-19 case rates for the most recent two weeks in selecting in-person, online or hybrid instruction. Rates as of July 18 suggest the following approaches.

• 14-day case rate per 10,000 people: Reopening guidance

 • 0-10: In-person learning for all students

• 10-20: Elementary schools in-person, middle/high schools hybrid

• 20-30: Both hybrid

• 30-50: Elementary school hybrid, middle/high schools distance

• 50+: Both distance

The 14-day case rate per 10,000 people by date of specimen collection in Cass County will be updated every Thursday using information obtained from the MN Department of Health.

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