MOORHEAD — All ninth grade students at Moorhead High School will go into a quarantine starting Wednesday, April 28, after several COVID-19 cases at that grade level.

In a letter to staff and parents, principal Dave Lawrence said there were seven positive cases and about 160 students already in quarantine.

Teachers will be reaching out to the 520 freshmen students with specific class details for distance learning for the next few days.

"We believe that taking this pause is crucial to slowing the spread and limiting the possibility of spread to other students and grade levels," Lawrence wrote.

The goal, he said, is to bring the ninth graders back into the building on Monday, May 3. That would be 10 days from the day of the last known positive case among the ninth graders, which was last Thursday, April 22.

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The freshmen have their own wing in the high school.

The quarantine affects students from in-person classes and activities. It does not affect special education students who are in self-contained classrooms and will continue in-person learning.

The principal urged students to reach out to classroom teachers, the administrative staff or health services with questions or concerns.

The school's Incident Command Team decided to send the ninth graders home.

Students at the high school went back into in-person learning on March 8. In all, about 1,750 students attend the school in grades nine through 12.

Vaccines aren't available to students under the age of 16, which would include the freshmen, but Lawrence urged others around them to get the shot to protect children.

He also urged residents to continue to wear masks in public, social distance, test regularly and stay home if sick.