Park Rapids prom will have everything but the dance
Social distancing will not allow close dancing, but the grand march, banquet and post-prom activities will go on.
The principal of Park Rapids Area High School told the school board on Monday that plans for the spring prom are going forward.
Principal Jeff Johnson reported that the prom committee and the post-prom parents’ group have been working together to plan this spring’s event, scheduled for April 24.
At present, he said, prom plans do not include a dance, due to social distancing protocols. However, there will be a grand march, a meal at the school, and post-prom activities such as games and prizes.
He said students will be encouraged to wear their formal attire throughout the event, ending around 11:30 p.m.
Johnson also noted that COVID-19 protocols have been loosened to allow two-way traffic in hallways, the use of lockers and as many as six students eating lunch at a table (up from four). “You wouldn’t believe just what those little things do for the kids,” he said.
Johnson said a group of teachers working on their master’s degrees are preparing a project focusing on the transition from eighth to ninth grade. He said one of the ideas they are looking at is the freshmen-only first day of school that the school tried in the fall of 2019 and peer mentoring programs, with seniors taking freshmen under their wing, etc.
Middle school principal Shawn Andress reported that five distance learning students returned to the school in mid-February, and another 12 came back at the beginning of the third trimester.
Andress said students have been asking when they can start eating lunch outside, picnic-style. As far as eating indoors, she said, students are in no hurry to get back to having three kids on each side of a table. “They like their space,” she said.
Andress told the school board that six students interviewed via Zoom last week for the Upward Bound program offered through Bemidji State University. “They will find out in early April,” she said.
Elementary principal Mike LeMier said several staff members received their second COVID-19 vaccination on March 11, including himself, and they appreciated having a planned distance learning day on March 12 to recover from the shot.
“It was nice to know the building was taken care of, and we had a lot of teachers who were able to take a day and rest, which is helpful,” he said.
LeMier said about 50 percent of the students who started the school year in distance learning are now back in school.
Jill Dickinson, director of Community Education, said her program plans to have its brochure in the mail by May 5. To save cost, she said, the printed brochure will be lighter on course descriptions than usual, but full descriptions will be available online.
Dickinson said preschool enrollment has started for the fall. The 3-year-old classroom, which only accepts up to 30 children, has only three slots left. However, the 4-year-old room, which can serve up to 80 children, has about 35 registered.
Eva Pohl, director of PAWN Special Education, reported attending or planning to attend recent and upcoming job fairs to recruit future SpEd teachers, including a booth at this week’s career fair at the high school.
Activities Director Jeremy Nordick brought the school board up-to-date on winter sports tournaments and said spring sports practices will be starting in phases, with clay target league and baseball arm conditioning starting March 22; baseball, softball, track and golf starting March 29; and middle school sports starting the following week.