Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, the St. Cloud-area Catholic Community Schools will move to distance learning Nov. 30.
Cathedral High School started distance learning the week of Nov. 16, but distance learning for K-6 schools in the CCS school system will begin after the Thanksgiving holiday. Catholic Community Schools will remain in distance learning through the holidays.
“As much as we were hoping we could push it off a little further, the time has come for us to switch from in-person to a distance-learning model,” Cathedral principal Kathy Crispo said in a press release. “While we understand that distance learning comes with challenges, the safety of our students, staff and families is our number one priority, and this decision comes from a place of deep compassion and responsibility to our school communities, as well as the common good.”
The decision was made with support from Bishop Donald Kettler and St. Cloud Diocese schools superintendent David Fremo, and in conjunction with the recommendations and guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and local health department officials, according to the release.
COVID-19 case growth in the St. Cloud metro area is among the highest in the nation, the release said.
“The numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations in Stearns and Benton counties continues to climb each day at an alarming rate — already well beyond the metrics of Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan set forth by the MDH, and they are projected to continue to rise for the next several weeks,” it said.
Provided that positive cases in the community have peaked and are on a downward trajectory, CCS is hoping for a possible return date of Tuesday, Jan. 19, to in-person learning.
“We know that people will be gathering over the holidays, although hopefully to a lesser degree,” said Scott Warzecha, president of CCS. “For this reason, our projected return date has been calculated to get us through the New Year weekend with an additional 14 days following it to ensure that we are giving our students the best possible outcome for returning safely to in-person learning.”
CCS is a consolidated school system in the St. Cloud metro area, with the following participating schools: All Saints Academy (St. Cloud), Cathedral Middle and High School (St. Cloud), Holy Cross School (Pearl Lake/Marty), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School (St. Cloud), St. Francis Xavier Catholic School (Sartell), St. Joseph Catholic School (St. Joseph); St. Katharine Drexel School (St. Cloud), St. Mary Help of Christians School (St. Augusta) and St. Wendelin’s Catholic School (Luxemburg/St. Augusta).