SAUK RAPIDS – Mississippi Heights Elementary in Sauk Rapids will move to distance learning beginning next week until the end of November, according to district officials.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice School Board met Thursday evening to review COVID-19-related data from the Minnesota Department of Health and Benton County, along with current data related to the Mississippi Heights community.

The transition to distance learning is due to the number of COVID-19 related absences affecting both students and staff. District officials say they’re working with Benton County Public Health to identify and notify anyone who has had close contact with a positive case.

“Unfortunately, the district is unable to adequately staff and provide the appropriate supervision necessary for in-person learning at Mississippi Heights Elementary,” the board wrote.

Distance learning for Mississippi Heights students will begin on Tuesday. Students will not be in the building or have classes on Monday.

“The learning model change is being implemented for this two-week period to keep students and staff at Mississippi Heights Elementary healthy, as well as to clean and disinfect the building,” the board wrote.

The board plans to review Mississippi Heights’ learning model the week of November 23. Students are expected to return to in-person learning on November 30.