By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As COVID-19 continues to spread in Minnesota with a record number of people hospitalized by the virus, more and more school districts are shifting to distance learning. The latest to make the shift is Dover-Eyota Public Schools in southeastern Minnesota.

On Monday night, the school board approved distance learning for the district’s middle and high school students. The first day of distance learning is slated to start Thursday, with the new model lasting through the Christmas break.

Also shifting to distance learning will be the district’s fourth-graders and fifth-graders. They are scheduled to start schooling from home on Friday. Their return to the classroom will be evaluated following the Thanksgiving break.

In-person learning for elementary students Pre-K through third grade is set to continue in the district, as long as conditions are deemed safe.

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School official say the change to distance learning for older students came after Olmsted County reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases.

According to health officials, Minnesota has seen a surge of new infections in the last week, with some days seeing as many as 3,000 new cases. Meanwhile, more people are currently battling the virus in Minnesota hospitals than at any other time since the start of the pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, multiple Minnesota schools and districts have switched from in-person learning to distance learning. Among them are Mahtomedi High School, Osseo Schools, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Schools, and Anoka-Hennepin, the state’s largest district.

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