COVID-19 outbreak pushes Edison High School in Minneapolis to distance learning

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A high school in Minneapolis is switching to distance learning starting Wednesday due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Minneapolis Public Schools, Edison High School will have remote classes through Oct. 5 after "a significant number" of students were exposed to others who had tested positive for COVID-19. In-person classes are set to resume on Oct. 6.

Edison High School parent Michael Kral told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he’s very happy MPS moved as quickly as it did to address the issue.

"I am glad the school was prepared and I am glad the school is doing what is best for the students," Kral said. "We’re still kind of learning what all of that means, but it sounds like they’re handling it in the best way to keep students safe."

MPS said it is working with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minneapolis Health Department to minimize further infections.

The school district said the number of students who tested positive "was not large," but exposure may have been widespread because of students moving from class to class.

Dr. Peter Bornstein, with St. Paul Infectious Disease Associates, told KSTP that even though Edison doesn’t have a high number of COVID-19 cases, the school district is taking extreme precaution to make sure the spread of the disease is minimized.

"The delta variant is quite contagious and it is broadly dispersed in our community," Bornstein said. "It sounds like they are exercising an abundance of caution, which is good because with delta you can go from very few cases to very many in a short period of time."

Edison doesn’t appear on the MDH’s list of schools with five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases, but that list is only updated once a week, on Thursdays. As of the latest update, 26 schools had reported five or more cases in the past two weeks.

Below is the full MPS message sent to media and parents:

"Minneapolis Public Schools wanted to share with you that Edison High School will temporarily move to distance learning beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, September 22, 2021 through Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The shift to distance learning is due to a significant number of Edison students being exposed to other students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Students will return to in-person classes at the school on October 6.

"MPS is working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minneapolis Health Department to manage the situation and minimize spread of the infection. Please note that while the number of COVID-positive students was not large, exposure is broad due to students moving from class to class at the high school level. We are working hard to keep our staff and students safe while also ensuring that students can continue learning.

"COVID continues to challenge our community, but MPS is committed to continuing learning despite the challenges."