Anoka-Hennepin Schools will shift its middle and high schools from hybrid to distance learning amid a rising spread of COVID-19 in the area.

The state's largest school district informed parents of the shift in a message posted Friday. Elementary schools will remain in a hybrid format, with students splitting their week between in-person classes and distance learning, but older students will move to full-time distance learning starting Nov. 4.

The district said classes will be canceled for students in all grade levels Nov. 2 and 3 to give teachers and school staff time to prepare for the change. All high school athletics and extracurricular activities will also be put on hold starting Nov. 2, and middle school after-school programs will end after this week.

District officials said they decided to move older students to distance learning after considering trends in local virus cases and after consulting with state and local health officials. "Concentrations of COVID-19 positive cases, projected trends and staffing attendance were also shared as considerations," the message said.

The district said "the possibility for learning model shifts remains" as the school year continues.

Erin Golden • 612-673-4790