Middle school science teacher Morgan Marcussen updated the Park Rapids School Board on Feb. 1 about plans for a school trip to Washington, D.C., this summer.

“We are going still, July 8-11, and the company has just updated some safety protocols,” Marcussen reported via Zoom. “I just wanted to let you guys know some of the things they’re going to do to keep everybody safe.”

She described the tour group’s COVID-19 protocols, including daily health screenings and temperature checks, mask wearing, handwashing, complying with in-flight requirements and traveling around Washington with a charter bus all to themselves.

“The charter bus is cleaned every single day and sanitized,” said Marcussen. “Students will have assigned seats on the bus, so they will be surrounded by the same kids. Most likely, who they room with in the hotel will be who they sit by on the bus.”

Stops on the tour will include a lot of outdoor spaces as well as indoor settings that have space for social distancing, she said. Dinner reservations will be at restaurants with high-level sanitation that have small-group seating with tables spaced apart. Lunches will be grab-and-go picnic-style, weather permitting.

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“They seem to have a lot of stuff in place that made me really happy about that,” Marcussen said of the tour company, World Classroom. “They will do a departure meeting here, coming up in a couple months. That has always been in person in the past. Right now, it’s probably going to be a virtual meeting, but we’ll see how that goes.”

Asked how many students are taking the trip, Marcussen said there were 49 signed up, but that included adults – with at least three teachers, one or two representatives of World Classroom and a local tour guide.

Because the D.C. trip was previously approved, no school board action was required.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Set the compensation for election judges in the special school bond election on April 13 at $15 per hour. Polling places will be in Park Rapids, Osage and Lake George.

  • Reported that both the school board and Superintendent Lance Bagstad had a performance evaluation in closed session on Jan. 19 and the results were “that satisfactory progress and performance is being made” by both the board and Bagstad.

  • Approved the spring coaches list, including baseball head coach Kevin Murphy, assistants TJ Erickson and Stephen Funk, and middle school coaches Josh Cook; boys golf head coach Jeff Anderson and junior high coaches Morgan Marcussen and Tom Marcussen; girls golf head coach Brent Vandal and junior high coach Walt Harrison; softball head coach Marion Goeden, assistants Kevin Cederstrom and Ken Tretbar, and middle school coaches Lindsay Iverson (eighth grade) and Ashley Hensel (seventh grade); boys track head coach Andrew Lachowitzer, assistants Chad Harshman, Mike Hartung (paid by Boosters) and Pat Richard (middle school), and volunteers Kent Fritze, Jake Deblieck and Joe Morgan; and girls track head coach Corey Hill, assistant Pat Richard (middle school) and “to be determined,” and volunteers Leah Weaver and Dana Hunter.

  • Acknowledged donations totaling $3,000, including $1,000 from Paul Bunyan Communications to the Paul Bunyan Scholarship Fund and $1,800 from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation for a preschool safety camp.

  • Approved a meal fundraiser for the girls basketball program.

  • Hired Katie Eischens as middle school gymnastics coach.

  • Approved the retirement of autism spectrum disorder teacher Kathy Ulmer, with regret and thanks for her 21 years of service to the school district.

  • Acknowledged that the last week of January was Paraprofessional Recognition Week. Bagstad said it was proclaimed by Gov. Tim Walz “to honor all the folks that work with our children every day.”

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the Frank White Education Center – a special time due to Presidents’ Day on Feb. 15.