With active COVID-19 cases in Becker County on a downward trend, Detroit Lakes Public Schools Superintendent Mark Jenson reported at Monday night's school board meeting that the district's Regional COVID-19 Support Team had approved its plans to begin full in-person learning for all elementary students, and hybrid learning for middle and high school students, on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

"No district can move to a less restrictive plan without that (response team's) approval," Jenson noted.

Though some parents might have expected the new class schedule to begin Monday, Jan. 18, that date is designated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day — a national holiday — so there will be no classes that day.

Also at Monday night's board meeting, Detroit Lakes High School Activities Director Rob Nielsen gave an update on participation numbers for fall sports, as well as plans for allowing in-person attendance at winter sports events.

Though Nielsen reported that total participation numbers for all fall sports were down slightly, from 410 in 2019 to 389 in 2020, he added that the decline in numbers was not "way out of line" for any one sport.

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High school registration numbers for winter sports, however, are showing a slightly steeper decline, he added, particularly in dance, and middle school participation numbers in wrestling "are about half of normal."

Nielsen also laid out the district's plans for allowing in-person attendance at winter sports events this year. Each family of a participating athlete will be given two season passes, and no more than two family members of any one athlete will be admitted to each event. All tickets must also be purchased online this year, he added, including those purchased by visiting fans.

Nielsen noted that his coaches and support staff are hard at work putting together a plan for streaming as many winter sporting events as possible; the biggest stumbling block, he added, is that there are several nights when multiple events are taking place simultaneously, which means that more than one live stream may need to be set up for the same time frame.

They are also looking into the possibility of increasing attendance to 150, the maximum allowed under current state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, for some events.