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Increased COVID Rate in Pine Co. Leaves Pine City Schools Unsure of what Coming Weeks Hold

After a delayed start due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19, the Pine City High School began its first week of school on Monday, September 14.

The delayed start and Pine County's rising number of COVID cases have many waiting to see what the future will look like at the high school despite Superintendent Dr. Curt Tryggestad promising to get kids back into classrooms as soon as it is safe to do so.

In a letter to sent to parents on Wednesday, Dr. Tryggestad said the district going to wait and see what next week holds for Pine County.

"If one follows the local data, it is clear that Pine County has had an increasing number of confirmed cases per 10,000 persons since August…moving from just over three to now trending over nine cases per 10,000 persons," Dr. Tryggestad wrote. "Early numbers show that the positive test rate may move to over 10 next week, which would require that we consider moving to a hybrid learning model in grades K-12."

He went onto tell parents that having students return only to switch learning models again would be detrimental.

10 cases per 10,000 people over a two week period is the magic number for school districts while they consider if they can have in-person learning or if they have to transition to some sort of hybrid learning model. The last set of data released by the Minnesota Department of Health had Pine County sitting at 9.27.

The Pine City School District has decided to keep the high school in distance learning until next Friday, September 25, so they can wait until the next set 14-day numbers are published before making a decision.

On Wednesday of this week, WCMP's Joe Keyport had a chance to talk with Dr. Tryggestad about what the district is doing with this new information. You can listen to that conversation down below.

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