MFL MarMac board ponders what next school year could look like

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

MFL MarMac’s prom has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday, July 24, but no date has been set yet for a physical graduation ceremony.

“We have every intention of having a physical graduation later,” in addition to the virtual event held May 17, said superintendent Dale Crozier at the May 11 school board meeting.

If the governor eases social gathering restrictions to allow for groups of 200 or more people, it would be doable, Crozier said. He hopes that will be the case by mid-July. 

“The longer we wait, I think the bigger we can make it,” he said. “But we have to grapple among ourselves—what do we do and when do we do it.”

Another date on the district calendar is July 1. By then, schools around the state are required to have a “return to learn” plan developed.

“We’re not really under the gun yet, but we need to start thinking about it,” Crozier told the board.

Crozier and school board president Gina Roys will select members to a “return to learn” committee that will be tasked with creating a three-part plan. The key aspect is that each district must have a proposal for required continuous learning should schools not re-open for in-person instruction.

“Our teaching staff will have to keep stepping up,” Crozier explained, “and they’re going to have to change to offer required online learning, and it’s going to have to count.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools two months ago, participation in MFL MarMac’s online learning has been voluntary, and schoolwork hasn’t been graded.

The second part of MFL MarMac’s plan will include hybrid learning. Crozier described that as “maybe we’re coming back and maybe we’re not, or half of our kids are going one day and half are going the next day.”

The third aspect is on-site delivery. “That would be where we just go back to school,” Crozier said.

It’s important not to make it too complicated, Roys added.

“We want the best interests of the students,” she said, “but we don’t want too many different avenues.”

According to Crozier, there’s no indication yet of which avenue will be the most likely.

“What we know for sure is we don’t know anything for sure,” he said.

In addition to learning, a district leadership team, or DLT, will also consider the approach to students’ social-emotional needs, health and safety, transportation, technology and other areas as classes resume.

Health is a big one. Nurse Sara Kelly, who spoke at the meeting, said she and nurse associate Donna Krambeer are learning more every day about what it’s going to look like when school starts this fall. One of their concerns is having enough supplies.

Kelly has reached out to the county public health department, but their stock of supplies is allocated toward health care workers only. Emergency management said the same.

“All the other school nurses in the state are in the same boat,” Kelly said.

Krambeer has contacted a local hospital for support. 

“I don’t want 20 thermometers,” she shared, “but we could use a couple extra thermometers, and maybe a couple boxes of face masks. If we need an order, we’re going to have to place it before August because they’re not out there.”

Although the “return to learn” plan is due July 1, Crozier said districts can change it both before and after school starts.

“What we say we’re going to do isn’t going to be the issue. It’s executing and defeating this,” he noted. 

Crozier hopes staff will use these changes as an opportunity to learn and grow.

“We have to take the mindset of not being reactionary. We’ve got to be proactive,” he stated. “I have every intention of taking every part of this and making it a positive for our school district.”

Staffing changes approved

At the meeting, the board also considered a number of staffing changes. Contracts were given to Riley Bodley for fourth grade, Caitlin Giles for fifth grade, Sheri Glawe for middle school special education, Scott Torkelson for bus driver, Kayla Keehner for seventh grade volleyball and seventh grade girls basketball coach, Angela Adney for high school head volleyball coach, Jerica Meana for wrestling cheer coach, Bryar Ruff for eighth grade girls basketball coach and Austin Schoulte for seventh grade boys basketball coach.

Resignations were accepted for Ron Vick for middle school track, Stacie Cooper for guidance and Deb Evanson as bus driver. In addition, the board approved educational improvement leave for Amy Bunting.

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