Menahga School District administrative team decided Monday to move grades 9-12 to distance learning for the rest of the week.

"This is due to staffing shortages," said Superintendent Kevin Wellen in a news release. "Our hope is that we will be able to return to in-person learning Monday, Nov. 16. As we have seen, the quarantine of close contacts can have a huge impact on us even though those contacts have not been testing positive. Currently of our 170 staff, two are positive and 14 are in quarantine. Out of our student body of 755 in-person learners, there are currently two students out with positive tests and over 100 in quarantine. Taking this data into consideration, we are confident that, at least for the time being, we can stay in-person for grades PreK-8 and return to in-person for the high school on Monday."

Wellen continued, "We know the positive test results in the area have grown dramatically. The consensus of the team, which includes Wadena Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education advisors, has been that the spread in the counties is coming from events outside the school. Because of our strong efforts to implement preventative measures, the school is one of the safest places to be right now."

Wellen said they continued to monitor the district status and consult with experts weekly. He urged the public to continue its efforts to keep exposure risk to students and staff low.

"We know our kids do best when they are in school. Help us keep it that way as long as we can," he said.