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Montevideo Schools will open Tuesday with distance learning after 2 staff members test positive for COVID-19 and others experience symptoms

The beginning of the school year has changed for Montevideo Public Schools students and families. They will start their school year Tuesday with at least a week of distance learning, because two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and others developed symptoms over the weekend. Contract tracing eventually led to nearly two dozen staff members in quarantine.

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MONTEVIDEO — Montevideo Public Schools were closed Monday after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Monday would have been the first day of school with in-person instruction for younger students and a combination of in-person and distance learning for older students.

Instead, all students will begin the school year Tuesday with distance learning, at least for this week.

Superintendent Luther Heller said Monday afternoon that he learned of the two positive tests Friday afternoon, and over the weekend other staff members woke up with symptoms. They were tested, and others who had been in contact with them were asked to quarantine until results are known. A total of 23 people were affected.

The district worked with Countryside Public Health, state epidemiologists and the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative to determine the best course of action.

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Using distance learning this week is a precautionary measure, Heller said.

“I’m aware of how disappointing it is for kids and for parents, and inconvenient for parents,” Heller said.

“It caught us by surprise, and it just kept growing,” he said.

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In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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