Starting Monday, November 30, 2020, Moorhead Area Public Schools will move all PreK through Grade 8 students to a distance learning model. Students in Grades 9-12 have been in distance learning since September 28. This decision was made based on staffing concerns caused by increasing absences due to COVID quarantine among staff and students as well as rising Clay County and Cass County case counts and Minnesota Department of Education recommendations.

As community spread continues across the community, Moorhead Area Public Schools reports 126 staff members and 403 students currently absent for COVID related reasons, up significantly over the past two week. 

Superintendent Dr. Brandon Lunak said, “From the beginning of the pandemic, our primary goal has been to provide the best possible learning experience for our students while ensuring student and staff safety. While we know distance learning is not ideal or desirable, we are facing an unsustainable operating environment that could affect the excellence and equity of our students’ education. We are committed to helping each student to thrive and feel a distance learning model will best accomplish student success and staff and student safety in current conditions.”

The district plans to return to hybrid learning on January 4 if community conditions allow.

Students and staff have been preparing for a possible move to distance learning since the start of the school year and students in Grades 1-12 will have district-provided Chromebooks that will be used at home during the duration of distance learning. 

The district will continue providing free meals for all students and adults. School aged childcare for Tier 1 critical care workers will also be provided during distance learning.