OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Ogden School District officials have announced a move to at-home learning due to absences in staff and students caused by a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Officials say all schools within the district will move to remote learning from Jan. 21-24.

“Our goal is to provide the best possible learning experience for our students every day,” school officials say. “The recent surge in student absences is certainly caused, at least in part, because of the current spread of COVID-19. This increase in illness has also impacted our school employees, much more than a typical winter season.”

Officials say they reported a record number of absent employees and only expect the numbers to increase. Student infection rates have doubled in many schools and officials say the health department is unable to keep an accurate count due to a rapid surge of infections.

School officials also cite an overwhelmed public health system along with high daily infection rates reported throughout the state as reasons for the decision.

Students will be provided with free personal learning devices and school lunches are available to pick up at each school between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Extracurricular activities have not been canceled at this time.

“We know that this change will be difficult for some of our students and employees,” officials say. “Please know that our intention is to be proactive with this change for the purpose of minimizing the potential need for at-home learning.”

Officials say substitute teachers have also suffered a shortage and community members are being asked to consider joining the substitute workforce during this time.

“We will assess the impact of “official” COVID-19 numbers and availability of school employees on Monday to determine whether any individual schools will require additional at-home learning days,” officials say.