By Marielle Mohs

UPDATE (6:24 p.m.): Osseo Area Schools is shifting to distance learning for the next several days due to high levels of illness-related absences among students and staff.

In a letter to parents Monday, the district said that all schools will temporarily be moving to distance learning in the days ahead. For students in middle school and high school, the change will happed Tuesday. For elementary students, it’ll happen Wednesday.

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All students are currently slated to be back in the classroom on Jan. 24.

“This news is understandably challenging for families and not one our district was hoping to make,” the letter said.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of Osseo Area Schools staff members were out Friday as the COVID-19 Omicron variant surges across the county.

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According to Kelly Wilson, Osseo teachers’ union president, there were 593 absences recorded last Friday, which is an all-time high compared to 350 recorded in the past.

That represents about 17% of the staff. It’s not clear how many of the staff absences were due to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the school district is experiencing bus route delays and cancellations due to bus driver shortage and a “sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.”

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Some Minnesota schools are moving to distance learning Monday due to the pandemic and cold weather, including Minneapolis Public Schools.

Marielle Mohs