An increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area has put the conclusion of fall sports and the start of winter sports in doubt.
Effective Nov. 4, Anoka-Hennepin Schools will move to a distance learning model for middle school and high school students. Athletics will be forced into a virtual format along with it starting Nov. 2.
“Cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached the thresholds which require Anoka-Hennepin – and all other school districts in Anoka County – to move to distance learning, 30 cases per 10,000,” said Jim Skelly, Anoka-Hennepin Schools communication and public relations director. “They are currently at 33.16 and they continue to surge. Along with that decision, the district is following guidance from the Minnesota State High School League and Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health that states co-curricular activities can only operate in the virtual format during distance learning.”
Athletics and other activities could resume their seasons in-person, but it would require case numbers to be lowered back below the threshold of 30 cases per 10,000. Unless that is reached, competitive seasons are on hold.
“Coaches and student-athletes can meet online, but cannot practice or play games,” Skelly said. “The reasoning is that activities are an extension of the educational program and follow the same guidelines for health and safety. If and when the numbers drop below 30, activities are allowed to participate. Also, school districts like St. Paul are in distance learning, but have activities. This is because they are voluntarily in distance learning and not required to be in that model by their county-level health data.”
The Wednesday, Nov. 4 date allows for a period of transition between learning models. There will be no school Monday, Nov. 2 and already was no school scheduled on Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Elementary schools will remain in a hybrid format.
High schools in Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 are Anoka, Andover, Blaine, Coon Rapids and Champlin Park.