BURKE — The Burke School District has called off in-person classes for the first two days of this week and expects to use online, flex-learning for the remainder of the week due to COVID-19 cases in the school district.

Burke canceled school on Monday due to a shortage of teachers and substitutes, and the school called off extracurricular activities. In a social media post, the school was described as having a “high number of positive cases among the staff.”

No in-person classes were held on Tuesday, and students in grades 6 through 12 were directed to start “flex learning,” or distance learning online. Elementary students are expected to start flex learning on Thursday.

Burke said flex learning is expected to continue through the end of the week and the district will re-evaluate its attendance status at that point. Under the district’s plans at the beginning of the school year, flex learning was set up to be “prepared in the event of a health-related closing, and the transition to online learning will be nearly seamless.” Teachers were slated to have lessons planned out one week in advance in the case of staff members being absent.

The Burke School District had its first positive COVID-19 case on Sept. 4. As of Tuesday, Gregory County, of which Burke is the county seat, has 27 active cases of COVID-19, according to South Dakota Department of Health data.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The district held a special school board meeting on Sept. 9 and voted 4-2 to mandate the wearing of face masks in school buildings. Students in grades 6 through 12, along with all students and staff, are required to wear masks at all times while in the school building, while elementary students are required to wear a mask at any time they are not seated behind a protective plastic screen.