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ISD 709 Return to Learn

We appreciate the help and support of our staff, students and families as we address this continually evolving situation.  We’ll continue to communicate as often as possible through a variety of venues, including this web page.  

November 24, 2020
Update for ISD 709 Families
This message is to alert you that, given current and projected COVID rates, distance learning at elementary and secondary levels will continue through at least the end of first semester on January 21, 2021.
While in distance learning, the district will continue to provide bagged breakfast/lunches for pickup Monday through Friday when school is in session. Emergency Tier 1 childcare and KEY Zone services will continue. The extension of distance learning does not impact the Governor’s athletics and activities pause, which is scheduled through December 18. The district will await further guidance on athletics and activities from the governor’s office and other state officials.
We’re making the decision to extend distance learning and sharing that decision with families and staff now, rather than wait until the last minute. This will allow students, families and staff the certainty that they need as well as the time to plan.  We regret the challenges that this will cause, but must continue to take action to help avoid deeper COVID spread within our schools and community.
In addition to a sharp, rapid rise in local COVID rates, our district has seen a recent increase in students and staff testing positive as well as those in quarantine. District administration consulted with the Minnesota Department of Education and local health officials who recommended a shift to distance learning. 
Duluth is one of many other districts locally and across the state that have had to shift to full distance learning as infection rates increase. The district will continue to closely monitor COVID rates and consult with local and state health officials.  We are partnering with the city and neighboring districts and communities to encourage preventative measures, including mask wearing and social distancing. We all want our students back in school safely as soon as possible and our collective efforts can help make that a reality. 
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the pandemic together.

COVID-19 Resources for Families


Families are asked to check temperatures and conduct home symptom screening before sending children to school.  Keep children home if they have a fever or symptoms.  Please review the following information from the Minnesota Department of Health and keep the Home Screening Tool handy for daily checks.
Download the MDH Home Screening Tool
Download the COVID Attendance Guide for Parents and Families
Please report your child's illness and absence to your school. 

Please make sure your child has a face mask.  Masks are required in school and on buses. 
Per the Governor’s Executive Order, and Duluth Public Schools policy all students older than 5 years of age and staff will be required to wear cloth face coverings, (unless medically exempt). Only students with documented medical conditions and/or IEP team determined cognitive or behavioral health concerns will be allowed to not wear a mask.

ISD 709 COVID-19 Case Reporting for Schools  

Schools must report all confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the MN Department of Health (MDH) or their local public health agency. Briefly, confirmed cases are reported to the ISD 709 COVID Contact and the MN Department of Health or local public health agency.   

  • MDH or the local public health agency conduct a case investigation and identify anyone who potentially has been exposed to the confirmed case.
  • MDH or the local public health agency notifies those who have been exposed and provides them with information about how to protect themselves, their families and their communities.
  • The ISD 709 COVID Contact is asked to assist in the notification process of all close contacts.
  • Throughout the process HIPAA/FERPA data privacy laws are followed.
  • Facilities staff follow guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting
Follow the appropriate path if a child, student, or staff person is experiencing the following symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

MDH COVID-19 Attendance Guide for Parents & Families
Staying home when you are sick is one of our best ways to fight COVID-19. Keeping sick children and children who are exposed to COVID-19 away from others helps stop the spread of the virus to other children, staff, and the surrounding community. Parents and guardians can use this guide to understand when their child can attend school, youth programs, and child care during COVID-19.

Stay Safe, Duluth - Video Resources
How to Wear Your Mask (1 min)

COVID Safety Tips for Individuals & Families
Helpful tips from the Minnesota Department of Health for athletic activities & sports, social gatherings, dining at restaurants, shopping, outdoor activities and more.

From the MN Department of Health: Mental Health Support
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a tremendous amount of stress, fear and anxiety for many people. It’s important that Minnesotans have access to the mental health care resources they need to stay well during this challenging time. State agencies are working together to ensure these services are available, and they are also connecting people with private organizations that can provide support. This includes telemedicine resources (which replace clinic visits) and other well-being supports to help families and individuals cope.

Important Links

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.


Resources: MN Department of Health

COVID-19 Hotline: Questions about COVID-19? Call the MDH COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention