SAUK RAPIDS – The Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School will temporarily move to distance learning beginning Thursday.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice School Board held an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to review Benton County’s 14-day COVID-19 case rate data, along with current data related to the middle school.

“The Board of Education in collaboration with the Superintendent of Schools made the difficult decision to close the Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School due to COVID-19 related absences in the Middle School Learning Community,” said Brad Bergstrom, Sauk Rapids-Rice School District Superintendent. “Unfortunately, the district is unable to adequately staff and provide the appropriate supervision necessary for in-person learning at the Middle School.”

While the building will be closed on Thursday, Bergstrom says students will not have classes to give middle school staff time to prepare for distance learning. Students will officially begin distance learning on Friday and continue through Nov. 11. The School Board will review the learning model during their meeting on Nov. 9. and devise a plan for Nov. 12 and beyond.

Bergstrom says the school will be cleaned and sanitized during the two-week distance learning period.