WORTHINGTON — Independent School District 518 announced in a Wednesday morning press release that it will shift to a full distance-learning model for all students beginning Nov. 2

"As information surrounding cases of COVID-19 in our district community continues to develop, Independent School District 518 administration must adapt to deliver a safe, effective, and equitable education for all students," the press release said. "Due to recent information received from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on the increase of COVID-19 cases in the District 518 area, administration has made the decision to shift to a full distance learning model for all students. This decision was driven by the district’s top priority, the safety of all ISD 518 students."

The district's press release added that expectations for students during full distance learning "remain the same as they have been during distance learning days in the hybrid learning model." The decision, as with all COVID-19 related issues, was made in consultation and cooperation with MDH.

The District 518 administration team "will continue to work with local and state agencies to determine the safest way to educate students while working towards its goal of providing as much in-person learning for students as possible," the press release said.

"Full distance learning will remain the learning model for a minimum of two weeks, beginning Nov. 2nd. A return to hybrid learning will be communicated from the district when a target date is determined."

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The district noted the plan for educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic was created in such a way that health, safety, effectiveness, equity and flexibility were prioritized. Due to the information received, it became necessary for the district to utilize the flexibility created in the 2020-2021 education plan. Information on how District 518 will implement a full distance learning education model can be found on the ISD 518 website.

"District 518 understands the critical role is plays in the community reaching beyond the education of students, from child care, to food service, extra-curricular activities, counseling and more," the press release added.. "The district will continue to make these services available to the fullest extent of its ability while also prioritizing the health and safety of its students, staff and the district community as a whole."