The Perham-Dent Independent School District 549 is changing from the current learning model.

The district has announced its intentions to implement full distance learning for third through twelfth-grade students, beginning on Nov. 30 through Jan. 18. The plan was presented and approved by the district's Incident Command Team. Students in pre-school through second grade would stay in their current in-person learning model, a news release from the Perham-Dent Independent School District 549 said.

The shift in the current models is due to a shortage of staff across the district, especially hitting the elementary staff. With the upper-level grades going to distance learning, this presents the opportunity for students and staff to spread out throughout the campus. The district said it would put an emphasis on learning at that level and this keeps in line with that.

There will be no school for students in third through sixth-grade on Nov. 23-24 as those will be staff planning days. Nov. 25 was already a planned day off for students as it was a staff development day.

For students in seventh through twelfth-grade, Cohort A will have an in-person class on Nov. 23, while Cohort B will have an in-person class on Nov. 24. Those days will allow students to meet their new teachers as they begin the new trimester. Nov. 25 was already scheduled as a Staff Development day and will be used as a staff planning day. Distance learning will begin on Nov. 30 for students in the Perham-Dent School District.

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Teachers and support staff will report to their classrooms during the distance learning period beginning on Nov. 30. However, the buildings will be closed during the distance learning period in January until the return to the in-person and hybrid learning models.

The district apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their support during this transition period. The plans are subject to change as the situation is fluid.

Information about meals, material pickup, essential child care and distance learning expectations will be announced later in the week through each school building.

The district hopes to return to its current model of hybrid learning for seventh through 12th grade students and in-person learning model for kindergarten through sixth grade students on Jan. 19.

The district is using the “scalpel approach,” which allowed the district within the same county to have different learning models. During the process, the district took into account not only the county-level case data when determining the learning models, but also the number of confirmed cases, quarantines, and close contacts in our school community, each school building within our district, and other data such as individuals with influenza-like illness. Since our last update, the data suggests that the district make the move to full distance learning. It indicates there is an uncontrolled community spread with a significant degree of impact on the school community.