Students back in school; vaccinations will keep classes in-person

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By Reed Anfinson
With information also from Minnesota Public Radio
Students in Benson Public Schools returned to classes Monday after an extended Thanksgiving break with hopes that a surge in COVID-19 cases would ease.
“Students are back in class on a regular schedule,” Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the Swift County Monitor-News Monday. “School nurses are going through information from the break to assess how many positive cases with staff and students.  Hopefully soon there is a drop in cases.”
Last week, Benson Public Schools took Tuesday as an e-learning day with students studying at home. It was hoped that the extended break, through the Thanksgiving holiday, would ease the number of cases seen in the schools.
Benson Public Schools had 31 active COVID-19 cases last week when Laumeyer announced Tuesday would be an e-learning day. One staff member and 30 students were infected. The spike in cases had been going on over 7 to 10 days, he said. “In addition, an increasing number of students have been sent home due to illness,” Laumeyer said.
To keep in-person classes in Benson Public Schools from having to conducted online, Laumeyer urged students be vaccinated.
However, the hopes that the impact of the COVID-19 surge would have eased proved premature. The Benson High School Jazz Band scheduled for Monday night was canceled at the last minute.

Swift County has recorded 306 cases of COVID-19 through the first 29 days of November, according to statistics provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. November 2021 has seen the second most cases of any month in Swift County. The most cases were recorded in November 2020 when the total was 368.

County’s Five Worst COVID months

Month    Number    Year
November    368    2020
November*    306    2021
December     184    2020
October    171    2021
October    93    2020
*Through Nov. 29

Swift County has recorded three deaths from COVID-19 this month bringing the total from the pandemic to 22. Its first death from the virus was recorded June 5, 2020. Sixteen of those deaths were in 2020 and six so far in 2021.
Now, a new coronavirus variant has surfaced with mutations that public health officials are finding very worrisome.

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