ROCHESTER — Rochester Public Schools is moving from in-person learning to distance learning for two weeks —Jan. 18-28 — because a surge in COVID-19 cases has hundreds of students and staff members out sick, caring for someone who is sick or in quarantine.
Earlier this week, the district reported a school-year high 564 new positive COVID-19 cases between Jan. 3-9. So far this school year, there have been 1,960 positive cases.
Of the new cases, 183 were reported in pre-K through fifth-graders, 288 in grades 6-12, and 93 with staff members. The school district has about 17,800 students and 2,700 staff members.
Riverside Central Elementary School Principal Matt Ruzek said Thursday that teachers were doing everything they could to take care of students and make sure it still feels like school is happening the next two weeks.
"We're getting materials ready. We're getting equipment ready. We're setting up online things. We're connecting with families in regards to, at our school, basic needs," Ruzek said.
The preparations were expected to continue Friday.
"We'll try and put those pieces in place today, and then we'll revisit it tomorrow," he said.
Joe Ahlquist is the photo editor at the Post Bulletin. Joe is a 2013 graduate of Winona State University and previously worked at the Winona (Minn.) Daily News and the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader before arriving at the Post Bulletin in July of 2017. Readers can reach Joe at 507-285-7624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.