Perham schools update distance learning, possibility of graduation ceremonies

FSA Coronavirus schools

March 30 through April 3 marked the first week of distance learning for Perham schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Overall, we're very happy with our first week of Distance Learning,” Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson said in an email to the Focus. “As we expected, we're making adjustments and changes as we go. One of our biggest challenges is finding that fine line as far as what is being asked of our students and families on a daily basis.”

One of the biggest concerns going into the first week was the technology, Anderson said. Apart from a few minor glitches, the programs, apps and software that the school is using for the new distance learning have been effective so far.

It is the hope and current plan of the Perham-Dent schools that they will see their students return to classes in May. Last week, Gov. Tim Walz said it’s a "relatively strong possibility" that in-person classes will not resume this year.

The local schools are taking things one week at a time as the possibility of students returning to school thing year dwindles.


“We are certainly hopeful that we get the chance to see our students before summer break begins,” Anderson said. “However we are also being realistic and understand the chances of that are getting smaller and smaller as we see the COVID-19 projected peaks across the country.”

The realistic view that students might not be returning to school this year the question of the senior events has been one of the big questions.

If students don't return to school this year, what will happen to seniors' big events, such as graduation? Perham schools are working to address that question.

“Our staff, especially at the high school, have expressed such great sadness and disappointment for our seniors,” Anderson said. “They are an amazing group, and certainly deserve a better exit from their school years than this.

"We are just starting to talk about ways in which we will handle graduation in the event we aren't back to normal by late May. The Commissioner of Education Mary Cathryn Ricker has stated her department will work with school districts on this as well.”

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