BACK TO SCHOOL: Blackduck, Kelliher and Red Lake

Bemidji Area Schools have set a plan for back to school for this fall, with in-person learning for elementary students and a hybrid model for students 6-12. Find out more about Bemidji’s plans here.

Schools in the more rural parts of Beltrami County, such as Blackduck, Kelliher and Red Lake, also have to follow the guidelines for back to school, following Beltrami’s COVID-19 new case rate, which at the latest report was 11.06 per 10,000 people.

Districts could opt for a more restrictive model than what is laid out in the state’s guidelines, and parents in every district have the option to opt-in to distance learning for their students. Guidelines from the state include mask requirements while in the building and in classrooms, with exceptions for activities that are impractical while wearing masks. Students will be further spread out in these situations.

Districts were instructed in the spring to formulate three plans for in-person, hybrid and distance learning models, and these modes of education may change depending on case rates.


Blackduck students will return to classes on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and will follow a hybrid model. Students will be divided into A and B groups, with family groups being kept together so siblings attend school on the same day.

Group A will attend in-person classes Tuesdays and Thursdays and online Wednesdays and Fridays. Group B will attend in-person Wednesdays and Friday and online Tuesdays and Thursdays. Blackduck Schools do not have classes on Mondays.


In Kelliher Schools, almost half of the student body opted-in to distance learning, so there will be no alternating schedules for hybrid students in grades 6-12, since their capacity will be under 50 percent.

The school day was reduced to the “Monday” schedule, with classes starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 3:15 p.m.

Superintendent Paul Grams discussed some of the plans in a Tuesday interview, and in the YouTube video below.

Kelliher will hold a Back to School open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2, with school starting on Tuesday, Sept. 8.


The Red Lake School Board voted to begin the school year with distance learning.

Open houses for Red Lake elementary students will be held Sept. 2-3, so students and families can pick up devices, drop off or fill out paperwork and meet their teachers. The district has a facility-wide mask requirement in place.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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