MOORHEAD — The Moorhead School District has scheduled dates for all grades to return to full-time in-person learning.
With grades PreK-8 already back in classrooms full-time, ninth graders will begin four days a week in-person Thursday, Feb. 25.
Ninth graders will make the move before grades 10-12 because "they had to stay in distance learning the longest” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Brandon Lunak said. Grades 10-12 started hybrid learning on Jan. 25, and ninth graders started hybrid learning on Feb. 8.
On Monday, March 8, grades 9-12 will return to in-person learning five days a week, Lunak said. The announcement doesn’t affect students enrolled in the Spuds Academy virtual learning program.
“Since the New Year, we have been on a journey to return our students back to learning face to face as much as possible,” Lunak said. “While we rejoice, we know that the journey is not over. Success will depend on all of us being diligent with prevention and mitigation practices."
Moorhead Area Public Schools laid out their plans to return to class before Gov. Tim Walz's announcement Wednesday that set March 8 as a target for getting all Minnesota middle and high school students back into classrooms for in-person instruction.
“This was before we knew any details of Gov. Walz’s announcement, but aligns nicely,” said Brenda Richman, a district spokeswoman.
Walz's announcement comes after declines in COVID-19 cases, along with the vaccination of many teachers including those in Moorhead. Richman said she could not estimate when the vaccination of district staff will be completed because the vaccine supply has varied.
“All Moorhead High School staff have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated," Lunak said. "We know that transmission is higher in our secondary students and we have prioritized allowing our secondary staff to be vaccinated in order to increase the immunity in the environment."
As of Feb. 11, Moorhead Area Public Schools had 41 students in quarantine, with no confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the district’s website. Another six staff members were under quarantine and two staff were positive for COVID-19.
In total, 247 students and 135 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the district’s website.
All grades in Fargo and West Fargo public schools have been in full-time in-person learning since January.