MANKATO — Loyola Catholic School has returned to distance learning for at least a week due to confirmed and possible COVID-19 cases.

Mankato Loyola logo for sports

The Mankato private school, with around 500 students, closed to in-person learning on Friday.

As of Thursday there were two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students and staff, Principal Adam Bemmels said. Multiple other members of the school community also are unwell, though as of Friday it was not clear if they have the coronavirus.

School leaders decided to temporarily close the building while testing, contact tracing and notifications are underway.

Bemmels called it a “difficult decision” that was made balancing the hardship the closure creates for some families with the public health risk.

Students and staff used Friday as catch-up and preparation day, Bemmels said. Classes will be held remotely Monday through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are pre-scheduled no school days.

Loyola’s student athletes are continuing to participate in sporting events.

Bemmels said he hopes to return to in-person classes on Oct. 19.

The school welcomed back students to full time in-person learning last month. Less than 10% of Loyola families chose the option to continue learning from home as they did in the spring.

Bemmels said staff have been prepared for the potential that COVID-19 cases could require a short-notice return to distance learning for everyone.