BACK TO SCHOOL: Cass County Schools

In northern Cass County, Cass Lake-Bena and Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig Schools opted for distance learning, while students in Walker-Hackensack-Akeley schools will attend in-person classes.

The Leech Lake Tribal Council issued a recommendation in mid-August that schools within the boundaries of the reservation start the school year with distance learning.

Guidance from the state instructed districts to follow case rate guidelines, and to offer distance learning to families who opted-in for those services.

Cass County, at latest report, had a new COVID-19 case rate of 6.20 for the two-week period ending Aug. 15.

Districts could opt for a more restrictive model than guidelines laid out, but Cass County is within the guidelines to have all students attend in-person classes.


Distance learning begins Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Cass Lake-Bena Schools. According to their website, students in grades 4-12 will receive a Google Chromebook, students in grades 2-3 will receive one at parent’s request, and PreK-1 students will receive instruction packets.

Distance learning will be the mode of education for CLB students for at least the first part of the school year, by vote of the Cass Lake-Bena School Board.

Free school meals are available for children 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday. A drive-thru option for meal pickup will be available at Cass Lake Elementary, and meals will be distributed at 18 sites throughout the district.


At Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig, the school will offer internet subscriptions for every student’s household and Chromebooks to every student, as the school starts distance learning for at least the first part of the school year.

The Niigaane students will continue their Ojibwe immersion courses online, and elders will be a part of the class’s meetings and will also be avaialble for virtual one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Orientation sessions will be held over the first week of school on Sept. 8-10, with each family group in their own classroom and rooms sanitized between groups.

Bus routes will make deliveries to households on a daily basis, such as deliveries of meals, complimentary learning materials or cultural materials.


At Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, students will resume in-person instruction with masking and social distancing requirements.

According to Superintendent Eric Pringry, the district has assigned staff to only provide distance learning for those elementary students who opted-in.

Grades 1-12 will start on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and preschoolers and kindergarteners start Monday, Sept. 14.

Parents and guardians are asked not to drop off their elementary students before 8:20 a.m. each school day, as students will arrive into their classrooms as soon as they arrive at school.

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