BURLINGTON — The increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases has forced another Skagit County public school district to pull back on in-person learning.

After bringing its kindergarten through second graders on campuses Oct. 19, the district announced Wednesday it would be returning to a mostly-online model on Nov. 30.

“This decision does not come lightly,” Superintendent Laurel Browning said in a news release. “The health and safety of our students and staff, as well as the greater community, remain our top priority.”

The decision comes as the county has reached the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases it has seen during the pandemic, she said.

According to the most recent preliminary data Monday, the infection rate over a 14-day period is 262.4 new cases per per 100,000 individuals.

“All indications from Skagit Public Health are that this number will continue to rise for the immediate future,” Browning said. “Even though our schools implement safeguards and health screening protocols with in-person learning, we still have students and staff at our school sites who have been exposed or tested positive for COVID.”

The district had already put a hold on adding other grade levels to its in-person model.

Burlington-Edison is the second public school district in the county to make the shift from a in-person model back to a mostly-remote model.

The Sedro-Woolley School District made the decision Nov. 5 to shift back to remote learning, while the Anacortes and Concrete school districts pulled back on plans to increase the number of students on their campuses.

The Conway School District, which started the year in a hybrid model, has also postponed bringing back some of its older students. It now plans to bring back its fourth through sixth graders in January.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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