Erickson says Monday’s in-person meeting was necessary to approve a resolution declaring emergency

    The Crookston School Board and Crookston City Council are each taking steps to hold future meetings remotely using whatever technological means necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Both entities this week conducted meetings in-person at their regular locations, at Crookston High School and City Hall, respectively, using recommended social-distancing guidelines that had everyone in the meeting settings situated at least six feet apart.

    School District Superintendent Jeremy Olson indicated that upcoming board meetings for as long as necessary will be conducted via Google Meets. The meetings would still be located in their regular location, in the CHS choir/orchestra room, he explained, but board members would have the option of participating remotely via Google Meets. The plan will come together in the coming days and weeks, Olson said. The board isn’t scheduled to hold its next regular meeting until the latter part of April.

    “If there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s that we’re going to get better at technology and getting creative in solving problems,” Olson added.

    As for the city council, just how technology would be incorporated into upcoming meetings is something that’s still taking shape. All council members have City-issued ChromeBook devices that they could use to participate in meetings remotely.

    During their meeting this week, the council approved a resolution declaring an emergency in the city, which helps pave the way for future meetings being conducted remotely.

    “We had to (have the meeting and approve the emergency declaration) so we could do telecommuting meetings,” Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson said. “A lot of the general public was kind of upset we were having a meeting. But we had to take this action.”

    “The emergency declaration is a big step forward,” added Tim Froeber, Crookston fire chief and also the City emergency manager, adding that he consults with Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner, Polk County Emergency Management and Polk County Public Health on essentially a daily basis during the pandemic. “We want to let people know as much as we can, also tell people to make sure they get their information from a really good source,” Froeber noted. “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.”