COVID officially hits GMR School community: Badger School see increase in cases

In an October 17 letter to Greenbush-Middle River families and staff, GMR Superintendent Larry Guggisberg announced that the first confirmed member in his school received a positive COVID-19 test.

The GMR School, according to the letter sent by Guggisberg, worked with the Minnesota Department of Health to identify others who had close contact with the school’s first positive case and communicated with these people individually.

GMR reported that, to its knowledge, as of 10 am on October 20, five of its students had tested positive. All five students rode an October 9 football team bus. No known GMR staff members have tested positive for the virus at this time.

Back on October 11, the Badger School reported that COVID had hit the first member (a student) of its school community. The Badger School reported, that as of October 20 at 9 am, eight members of its school community had tested positive, including five students and three employees.

Three of these five students rode the October 9 football team bus, one had close contact to two different positive case passengers off the bus, and one had no connection to any passengers on the bus. Two of the three employees rode this football bus and the other employee did have close contact with a passenger from the bus.

This increase in cases at both school sites has coincided with an increase in cases across Roseau County. As of October 13, the total confirmed cases in the county stood at 158 and in one week, as of October 20, that number had risen to 199, according to numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health. On October 21, the number of positive cases in Roseau County reached 211.

“They’re growing to the point where we have a number of students in our (GMR) district that are in quarantine… They’re still in our school, but they’re going towards distance learning because they’re in isolation or quarantine,” Guggisberg said during the GMR board’s October 19 meeting. “We’ve also had a few parents call up and say, ‘This is starting to get scary for me. It’s getting (to be) too many people (with COVID). I’m just going to choose to… keep my child at home.’”

GMR teachers are beginning to do dual duties— in-person learning and distance learning preparation. Guggisberg was looking for board support to assist these teachers during this time. He suggested possibly looking at an early out, or half day, on Fridays for the next two weeks to give teachers that time to prep for this dual role.

The board approved this early out on Friday for the next two weeks starting this week. After November 6, the board will revaluate this situation and see where COVID levels are at during its November 9 regular meeting at 7:30 pm— a rescheduling of the November 16 meeting.

“We see this continuing to grow to the possibility that we may have full distance learning sometime, let’s say around on or before Thanksgiving as a possibility,” Guggisberg said.

The GMR School District is working under in-person learning at this time.

To see the complete story, including the GMR board’s decision related to season sports passes and single-event admissions, read the October 21 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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