Monday’s count for lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases was at 603—which puts the cases in the range of about 21 per 10,000 population in Otter Tail County. 

If the count holds, it could change the learning model in Otter Tail County schools. 

“We’re OK right now,” said Superintendent Brian Korf, Pelican Rapids school district. Two to three week trends will determine whether or not schools change from in class to distant online learning—or a “hybrid.” 

If the confirmed case load continues, area schools could move to the Hybrid learning model. A 14-day case rate of 20-30 per 10,000 population moves schools to hybrid, which means students alternate days from in class to learning at home, through online technology. 

Otter Tail County rose from about nine cases to 14 to 21 over the past five weeks. 

COVID planning is happening in a united manner, with school, Otter Tail County health, and Lake Country Service Cooperative officials meeting weekly. The team compares data and shares ideas for slowing the spread. 

“I think it is impressive we got this far,” commented Jon Karrer, Pelican school board chairman, at the Oct. 5 meeting. 

It has been a one-week-at-a-time process for school officials. 

“Our next goal is to make it through MEA weekend,” said Korf, at the board meeting. 

In other COVID-19 related discussions, Activities Director Derrick Nelson said that long bus rides have been a public health concern. Based on state guidelines, Pelican school is limiting bus occupancy to 26 maximum per machine. Football and soccer teams are taking two buses when traveling to away games.