The Perham-Dent School Board heard the school’s three different options that it is preparing for the start of school come fall at the regular school board meeting on July 8.

This year the state is having all public Minnesota schools have three options for going back to school because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will need to be ready to do any of their three prepared options and to change which option that they are working with depending on how the course of the pandemic goes. Options will be scaled from in-person to distance learning and schools will have the option to go a step stricter then what the state recommends.

A survey will be going out to families to help the school plan their options. As they find out how comfortable families are about topics such as sending their children back to in-person school and transportation options. The school administration suspects that there will likely be families who are not comfortable with bussing their children or sending them back while the pandemic continues.

Option one is in-person school with social distancing and restrictions in place. For Perham, the discussion of having students from third grade and up and teachers being masked at all times. Students under third grade will likely not be required to be masked as other challenges with keeping the youngest students would likely arise.

Option two is a hybrid model between in-person school and distance learning. This option would be the hardest to implement as the school would need to come up with an A schedule and B schedule for which students are on campus when. Logistical problems such as having siblings on campus on the same days, which teachers would be responsible for students on their distance learning days, and bussing would all be issues.

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Option three is distance learning similar to what was done in the spring semester.

Right now, the Perham schools’ main focus are options one and three. Word from the governor on what the start of fall should be is expected on July 15.

Other business discussed at the school board meeting:

  • The board discussed ways to give students in kindergarten through third grade as many in person-days as possible, as it would be most conducive to them as they learn to read. Spreading these students out through the elementary schools and middle school were discussed as well as spreading them into the gyms at all three schools.

  • Discussion on whether or not the school should be providing masks for students or requiring them to bring them from home is still under consideration. How many cloth masks the school would need to provide is still being decided. The question of if special Perham High School masks and Yellowjackets masks should be made to entice older students to wear them was also brought up.

  • Cyndy Huber was chosen to be the board’s Minnesota State High School League Representative.

  • Mike Hamann was chosen to be the board’s County Collaborative Representative.

  • The board approved the renewal of the Minnesota School Board Association Membership.

  • The board approved the resolution to adopt the School District’s Long-term Facilities Maintenance Plan. The plan will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education to show the district’s maintenance estimated projects for the next 10 years.

  • The board will be holding a special meeting at noon on July 22, to further discuss the options for the fall semester.

  • The board ended the meeting with a tour of the Prairie Winds Middle School remodel, which is nearly complete, and the new Gymnastics Building.

  • The next regular Perham-Dent School Board meeting will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 12.