Positive cases spur switch to distance learning at Willmar's Roosevelt Elementary School

Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar will switch to distance learning this week and continue it for at least two weeks. It's because of a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases.


WILLMAR — Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar will switch to distance learning for two weeks, beginning Thursday.

A rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 infection led to the decision.

“We saw the first case there on September 29th and currently have ten positive cases,” Superintendent Jeff Holm wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon. “This rapid increase, coupled with the difficulty of covering absences of staff members, led us to conclude that it is necessary to make this change.”

The school district hopes to resume in-person instruction Oct. 22, Holm said. The district will monitor cases over the next two weeks to determine whether it will be safe to restart in-person instruction.

Child care is available for Tier 1 essential workers. The school will provide free meals for students during the time.


“We regret the hardships this situation may create for Roosevelt families,” Holm wrote. “The health of our students and staff is our utmost concern.”

Willmar Public Schools have been operating with in-person education for elementary students and a hybrid learning model for middle and high school students. Children in some classrooms have been sent home to isolate for two weeks and do distance learning, but this is the first time an entire school has changed its instruction model.

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: or phone 320-214-4340
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.