A run of absences due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 forces North Marion Middle School to transition back to distance learning

COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - North Marion Middle School students will be studying via distance learning for at least a couple of weeks.In an effort to operate safely, North Marion Middle School reverted to distance learning on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

North Marion School District announced Monday that a rise in omicron variant COVID-19 cases within its middle school and a subsequent rise in absences forced the district into this transition.

In a letter to the district's parents, Superintendent Ginger Redlinger said the decision to transition to short-term distance learning was necessary to fully staff and operate the school. NMSD's primary, intermediate and high schools continue to operate with in-person learning.

"Your Middle School student will have access to learning material on our learning system (and) leaders and teachers will share more details about what it will look like in short-term distance learning for students," Redlinger wrote.

"We plan to operate short-term distance learning for the Middle School through at least Friday, January 21, with school potentially reopening on Monday, January 24. Families can expect to receive communication should it be necessary to extend this pause in-person learning."

Redlinger said the transition effectively postpones in-person middle-school extracurricular activity. The breakfast and lunch program will operate as pick-up meals. Laptop computers and WiFi hotspots will be issued to students who need them.

"We are mindful of the significant impact that comes from moving a school to short-term distance learning and do not make this decision lightly," Redlinger noted. "However, as we cannot offer sufficient staffing at the Middle School to continue on-site instruction in a safe environment, we will have to implement short-term distance learning until we can reopen."

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