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Students at Franklin Middle School and Lincoln High School will remain in the hybrid learning model until Monday, March 15. Thief River Falls Superintendent Donita Stepan made the announcement to families in an email Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Initially, secondary students were set to return to full-time in-person learning Tuesday, Feb. 16, and then the return was postponed to Monday, March 1. Both of those returns were postponed due to an increase in student COVID cases in the district.

Stepan wrote that the district is trying to limit the possibility of having to move into a distance learning model. “Because we’ve had an influx of student cases recently, and it’s really difficult for us to social distance and contact trace at the secondary level, we believe that a change in learning models should not happen until we are confident that the spread in our schools/community is minimized,” she wrote.

This past week, the district went from 19 positive student cases to 14 positive cases, 230 students quarantined to 141 students quarantined, four positive staff cases to two positive staff cases and 22 staff quarantined to eight staff quarantined.

Pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade classes and the Area Learning Center will all remain full-time in-person unless quarantines are in effect.