MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New numbers released from the Minnesota Department of Health show just how rapidly COVID-19 cases have gone up in schools.

The new report that came out Thursday morning shows that Minnesota schools from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7 had over 750 COVID-19 cases reported. To put that into perspective, that number was between 100 and just over 300 in September.

There are also 114 schools with five or more cases. On Monday, WCCO reported that number was 70.

Education Minnesota says it’s important to remember data for schools lags by 1 to 2 weeks.

“The numbers today are going in the wrong direction. We are not going to be doing in-person learning across the state anytime soon,” Education Minnesota president Denise Specht said. “I’m willing to bet the numbers in real time are a lot higher than what we see on the website.”

Specht said teachers are much more prepared now for distance learning.

WCCO spoke to a parent whose district voted this week to move all K-12 students to distance learning.

“I haven’t heard of a lot of cases with kids in the school, but I think teachers are at risk. But it’s hard to want to send your kid to school when you are putting staff you love teaching your children at risk, so it’s so hard,” Shelby Smith, a parent of a student in the Anoka-Hennepin District, said.

In the case of Anoka-Hennepin, they said they did not have enough teachers or bus operators.

The Shakopee school district voted to keep athletics and extracurriculars going, which we have seen at a few other districts. This despite the fact that the district also decided last week that their high schoolers would go to distance learning. This week the district said they would also move their elementary schools to distance learning.

Education Minnesota’s president asked parents to do their part in the community to help get kids back into the classroom.

“(You) shouldn’t be mad at superintendents, educators, people who are making decisions to move to distance learning,” Specht said. “(It’s) people in the community not doing the right thing.”

Just Thursday, Rochester Public Schools announced the district will return to distance learning next week.

In the last 24 hours, Minnesota has reported 7,228 new cases and 39 more deaths due to the virus. The state’s positivity rate is hovering around 15%.

Kate Raddatz

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