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The Randolph School Board unanimously approved a schedule change that will allow more distance learning days on Nov. 16. 

Superintendent Michael Kelley said the district is walking a fine line with distance learning. 

Randolph will have distance learning for all grades the week of November 30-December 4 and January 4-8. 

Plans were already in place to have all students distance learning the week of Thanksgiving. 

Kelley and other administrators have been in constant contact with their Minnesota Department of Health Regional Coordinator about this subject. 

Kelley asked the coordinator, why should they go distance learning like other surrounding districts?

The coordinator told them they’ve been lucky and that they shouldn’t push their luck. 

A fear from the Minnesota Department of Health is students leaving for holiday breaks, coming back into school buildings, and causing an outbreak. 

Changing the schedule gives Randolph an opportunity to have a slimmer chance of an outbreak and keeps students coming to the building.

The district has found more students struggling during distance learning days, but acknowledges that safety is of the utmost importance.

“It’s a big decision to keep kids at home,” Kelley said. “We know they don’t do as well. We know, for a fact—high school can tell you—a ton of them are failing.”

Special Education and at-risk students have the chance to attend school in-person. Teachers will be in the building to help those students and still do distance learning with the rest of the class. 

Randolph School Board Chair Gary Moorhouse appreciated the plan presented by the administration, saying they’re happy they aren’t just going to “throw the towel in” and go distance learning for five or six weeks. 

In the future, Kelley said they could have a week that’s distance learning only in case there is an outbreak in the school or community. 

“We realize there’s a virus,” Kelley said. “We want to help the community. And we’re trying not to leave kids behind.”

The only board member not present was Jason Podritz. 

The board will meet next on December 21 at 7 p.m., at the school.

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