North Star Academy Moves Some Grades To Temporary Virtual Learning During Staffing Shortage, COVID Cases

DULUTH, Minn. — The North Star Academy of the Duluth Edison Charter Schools is having some of its grades switch to virtual learning for a few weeks.

It’s happening for two reasons: one, COVID has caused staffing issues and teacher shortages, and two, the number of COVID cases within the schools doubled between the first and second week of January after classes returned from winter break.

The junior academy students will be learning virtually for five weeks, which includes 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

4th grade students, only from Raleigh Academy, will also be distance learning for a limited amount of time.

The other grades will not be learning from home, as the staffing levels for those classes are not as low, and neither are the COVID case levels.

“It’s one of the toughest decisions that I’ve made. I know that having them in person is one of the most important things that we can do for their academic development but more importantly for their social and emotional health. They need to be around other kids, other people, learning how to be in school, socializing with friends so it was a really tough decision and we held off as long as we could.” Tammy Rackliffe, the interim head of schools, explained.

Rackliffe adds that it would be a huge help to any school, including North Star, for community members to reach out and see if they can become substitute teachers, recess monitors, and more, as the process to apply is pretty easy.

The school is also working to make sure that students who still need access to meals and care during the day if their parents aren’t home will be taken care of.

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