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Prior Lake-Savage Schools Latest To Shift To Distance Learning

PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Another Twin Cities school district is switching to distance learning, citing rising COVID-19 cases and staffing shortages.

Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools made the announcement Monday. The district said distance learning will begin Thursday and last through at least Jan. 18.

"Staffing shortages continue to present significant challenges to the day-to-day operations of our schools," the district said. "Our administrators and staff have been working hard to fill in wherever needed but continued absences, combined with staffing and substitute shortages have left us with operational challenges we cannot overcome at this time."

The district said in a weeklong span after winter break, 632 students were reported absent due to a positive COVID-19 test or direct exposure. On Monday, 12% of staff were absent, and there are 53 unfilled positions in the district.

Athletics, activities and events will continue as scheduled, the district said.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported the state's average positivity rate is higher than it's ever been, at 19.1%.

Minneapolis Public Schools, the state's third-largest district, spent Monday at home due to cold weather and COVID-19. Osseo Area Schools are also shifting to distance learning this week due to high levels of illness-related absences among students and staff.

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