Families were notified Tuesday, Feb. 23, that students in grades 7-12 at Pine River-Backus High School would move back to distance learning the following day - roughly 10 days after reporting for in-person learning for the first time this year.

The immediate shift in learning models is due to COVID-19 cases within the school district. Students will learn remotely for two weeks, and are expected to return to classrooms Monday, March 8.

The decision was made after cases were discovered Tuesday, Feb. 23. After completing contact tracing, district officials determined the change was necessary for the high school level.

“Last night (Monday, Feb. 22), we had zero cases and no one in quarantine,” Superintendent Jonathan Clark said. “As of this (Tuesday) morning, we had some positive cases that impacted some grade levels and support services.”

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One of the support services affected is food service. Because of this, the district will not be able to provide meals for distance learning students unless there is an emergency need. Those with an emergency need for those meals are encouraged to call the school office.

Clark said the cases “dramatically” affected grades 7-12 through contact tracing. Grades K-6 can report to school as normal, as well as full-time ALC students.

Families should receive phone calls and letters from the district providing more information on district proceedings.

Students who participate in basketball and wrestling may continue to practice and compete, unless individually notified.

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.