Three positive tests for coronavirus prompted Montpellier Public School to suspend classroom activities and make a temporary transition to distance learning last week, according to Jerry Waagen, school superintendent.

Students were taught by distance learning last week and are scheduled to return to the classroom on Sept. 16, he said.

Waagen said in the small school district, a high percentage of the 102 students came in close contact with the three positive cases. Waagen declined to specify if the positive cases were students or staff at the school. It was left to the families of the students and staff to determine if they needed to be tested during the suspension of classroom learning in the school.

"We went to the full distance learning model," he said. "We worked with Central Valley Health District to set a date to return."

Other rural schools in the area have not reported any positive tests within the school setting.

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"At Pingree, everything is normal," said Bob Toso, superintendent of the Pingree-Buchanan Public School District. "We haven't had any positive cases that I'm aware of."

Students of the district are encouraged to wear masks, although Toso said "That could go better."

"We're keeping the halls basically empty," he said. "We alternate dismissal times from classes to reduce the number of kids in the hall. We're trying to do the things we can do."

J.R. Wilson, high school principal at Barnes County North, said the school has had some students and staff quarantined but they have not had to make any changes to the school district schedule.

"We require masks everywhere outside of class and a lot of situations in class," he said. "We're monitoring the situation and ready to make adjustments if we have to."

Superintendent Damon Bosche of Medina Public School said of the situation, things are going "as well as can be expected at this point."

"We are taking a lot of precautions at this time," he said. "Still, it might just be a matter of time."

Montpelier, Pingree, Medina and Barnes County North all have had five-day-per-week in-classroom education since the start of the school year, although all report that some families have opted to have their children taught by distance learning.

"We are happy to be face-to-face at this time," Bosche said. "There are a lot of ways kids can benefit from that type of education."

Waagen said he feared other area school districts will be required to suspend in-classroom education in the future.

"For many schools, it is not of matter of if, but a matter of when," he said. "Right now, we are just looking forward to having our students back in the classrooms on the 16th (of September)."