The Cannon Falls School District knows how important annual events are for students, faculty and families.
Having to cancel prom and change the way graduation is typically run was challenging, according to Principal Tim Hodges.
Thankfully this year, the district is still planning on having their end of year awards program, graduation and prom, despite two weeks of distance learning in April.
Hodges said the decision to send all students and staff home for two weeks was a quick decision they didn’t take lightly.
Hodges said on April 8, a couple of kids in the Middle School/High School building turned out to have positive cases. Then the contact tracing began, resulting in a high number of students needing to learn from home.
By the beginning of the next week, a third of the students in the district were in quarantine.
Hodges said the district’s goal, in deciding to send students and staff home, was to ensure that everyone could be in school for the last few weeks. Having the seniors especially in the building was the highest priority.
So how did sending students and staff home last month compare to when the district did in the fall?
Hodges said in the fall it was more about the high countywide and statewide spread. Even before Gov. Tim Walz declared that all schools would need to shift to distance learning, the district was proactive.
This spring, the city of Cannon Falls and district had a high number of cases, whereas the county did not.
As it was last year, Hodges said the district will hold their year end awards program virtually on May 12. Hodges said it went well and many were able to attend.
For graduation, the ceremony will be held indoors, as is tradition. Hodges said the district is expecting 260 people to attend in person, with masks still needed for all in attendance.
The high school band and choir will not be performing, as a way to keep the number of attendees low.
Prom is planned for June 4, the day after school is over for all students. The district’s planning to have prom later than usual appeared to be a good call, Hodges said.
Grand march will be from 7-8 p.m., with a dance at the school ending around 10 p.m. Hodges said with restrictions rolling back from the state, there’s a chance that changes could be made.
One change Hodges hopes they can make is the amount of students that can intermingle. Currently, the district is only allowing groups of six students to be together throughout the night. They wouldn’t be able to mix with others during the night.
Hodges said students were disappointed by the news of staying in cohorts of six students, so hopefully that can be adjusted.
Hodges asks that families monitor the district’s updates from now until the end of the year. As restrictions begin to roll back, there is more than likely of a chance for changes to come as well.