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CHS Prom for July cancelled, graduation still on with a 'somewhat traditional' ceremony

Times Report
Superintendent Jeremy Olson

    Crookston High School’s Prom event scheduled for July 25 has been cancelled, said District Superintendent Jeremy Olson in a release Tuesday. Olson cites current guidelines that won’t allow for “close proximity and interaction” necessary for a Prom and recent consultations with Public Health to determine what is “safely feasible” for students.

    “While I know that this will come as a disappointment to many, I do believe that this is the responsible thing to do in light of the current guidelines,” he stated.

    In other school event news, Olson says they’re planning on holding a “somewhat traditional” graduation ceremony on July 25 at 2 p.m. at the high school and, under current guidelines, will allow each graduate to have two guests attend the ceremony in the gym with a limit of 250 people.

    “We are developing a safety plan for entrance into and out of the gym to comply with current guidelines,” Olson explained. “We will also recommend masks for attendees.”

    “This event is subject to cancellation if health guidelines would change or if the local situation here in Polk County were to change,” he added.

SCENARIOS FOR FALL

    Olson says Crookston School District is planning for three scenarios for this fall: distance learning, hybrid model (50% student capacity with distance learning used to bridge the gap when students are not in attendance), and face to face with several safety protocols in place.

    “Minnesota schools have been told that on the week of July 27th we will find out from the state which methods of instruction will be allowed,” he adds.   

    “I am certainly hoping for face to face instruction with safety protocols because I believe that this is best for learning and best for kids. I also believe that we can’t hit the pause button indefinitely, and that we must rise to the challenge and safely face whatever comes at us. If we return to face to face instruction, I do want to make sure that the community understands that this will not represent business as usual. What I have learned in my time as a school leader is that managing expectations is important. I very much want our community to understand that even a face to face return will look and feel very different from business as normal as we are going to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for students.

    As we learn to live and thrive in this pandemic we must learn to be adaptable. Schools will certainly  look and feel different this fall even if we are allowed to be in a face to face learning situation. Expect to see transportation to school look vastly different, students entering school will most likely experience some type of temp check or questionnaire on how they are feeling. Staff will have masks on and the school will most likely be strongly recommending students to wear masks as well. Lunch lines and recess will look vastly different and may be staggered to accommodate social distancing. Inside of the classroom protocols will need to be established to help kids understand social distancing to the greatest extent possible in a learning environment.

    We also need to understand that the situation we start in this Fall may change and may necessitate a more or less restrictive response which is why we must plan for several scenarios. We need to be prepared to quickly and seamlessly adapt to changing conditions and recommendations from healthcare experts to ensure that we keep our students safe.”

    From a timeline perspective, Olson says the district can expect:

    • July - Planning Phase - planning for three different scenarios: distance learning, hybrid model (½ student capacity), and face to face instruction.

    • Early August: Announcement on which method we will start the school year off with.

    • August - final planning/training for staff/setting of expectations for this Fall.

    “As always if you have questions or comments about Crookston Public Schools, feel free to contact me at 218-770-8717 (cell) or email me at jeremyolson@isd593.org. Go Pirates!”