NEW RICHMOND — Grades 6-12 will switch to remote learning starting Tuesday, Nov. 17, in response to an increase in COVID-19 infections and close contacts among students and staff, the New Richmond School District announced Nov. 10.

"This past weekend has created a difficult combination of increasing positive COVID-19 cases, increasing student and staff being identified as close contacts, and increased staff shortages," district administrator Patrick Olson said the announcement. "From the start, flexibility was going to be needed as we contend with the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic."

More than 400 students were under quarantine as of Tuesday, the announcement states.

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Grade 4K-5 will continue face-to-face learning with no changes.

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The shift will allow New Richmond High School and Middle School staff to assist elementary students, as well as allow teachers to focus on delivering a single, consistent model of learning, Olson said.

The district will continue to monitor the situation and make a decision by Dec. 4 on whether the high school and middle school would resume in-person or hybrid instruction starting Monday, Dec. 7.

"The staff is dedicated to providing the best education possible and need your help to avoid gatherings, wash your hands, and wear your mask to further assist the District in moving back to a face-to-face or hybrid learning model at NRMS and NRHS levels," Olson said.

There were 1,469 active cases of COVID-19 in St. Croix County as of Monday, Nov. 9, according to the county health department. To date there have been 2,822 cases and 16 deaths.