Carlton students in grades 7-12 will begin the school year in person, but after a week those students will be moved to a hybrid model until at least Oct. 2, according to Superintendent John Engstrom.

Students at Carlton Middle and High School will report to school Sept. 8-11, but beginning Sept. 14 they will move to the district’s hybrid model after the 14-day average of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents rose to 9.85 late last week. Minnesota Department of Health guidelines call for students in grades 7-12 to move to a hybrid model if the 14-day average rises above 9 cases per 10,000 residents.

“We felt like we needed to make the call while we had staff in this week to prepare, and to avoid trying to message parents on the Thursday before Labor Day,” Engstrom said in an email.

In the district’s hybrid learning scenario, the district is required to be at or below 50% of the capacity in each room to allow students to practice social distancing.

Students will be divided into two groups, “A” and “B.” Group A will be in the building Mondays and Tuesdays, with Group B in the building on Thursday and Friday. All students will be distance learning on Wednesdays.

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Parents and guardians were notified last week which group their children were in, Engstrom said.

“Given the case count movement upward the last two weeks, we believed we could make the call now,” Engstrom said.

The district consulted with Carlton County Health officials and other area districts to make the decision to move to the hybrid model. Engstrom said the district will use the 14-day average from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 to determine if students will continue hybrid learning beyond Oct. 2.

Students at South Terrace Elementary School are unaffected.