ANOKA, Minnesota (WCCO) — Minnesota’s largest school district is tacking on two extra days to their winter break.

Anoka-Hennepin says the time off will start one day earlier — on Dec. 22 — and students will return one day later. Classes will now resume Jan. 4, with Jan. 3 being held for a staff planning day.

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District officials say the extra time off will help address mental health needs, and their ongoing staffing shortage.

Other big districts, including St. Paul, have recently made similar decisions.

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Furthermore, the Anoka-Hennepin district is keeping its options open for the remainder of the school year.

“The district is also considering limited dates between February and May that may be transitioned from in-person days, used for asynchronous learning or non-school days, or used for staff planning to support the challenges faced due to a shortage of staff,” the district reports. “Thank you for your understanding and support as the district navigates the unprecedented challenges of this school year.”

Statistics from the Minnesota Department of Health show that there have been 10 staff deaths in Minnesota’s K-12 schools due to COVID-19 so far this school year, in addition to the eight that were reported from the previous year.

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