Osakis School Board members made some tough decisions regarding summer recreation and summer school at a special school board meeting Wednesday, May 20.
After discussing both issues at length and weighing options, it was decided that summer recreation will be postponed until July 6, but still could be cancelled due to COVID-19, depending on the recommendations of the governor and the Minnesota Department of Education.
As for summer school, it will not be offered this year. However, for students needing that extra help, the district will plan on ramping up its offerings for after-school programs this fall.
Pat Kalpin, activities director for the Osakis School District, voiced his concerns and frustrations with the state as far as guidelines for summer rec programs.
He spoke with numerous other school districts around the state and found out that summer rec programs had either been canceled altogether, postponed or have been given a target date for when they could possibly happen.
Kalpin said under the guidelines, students in such programs can’t share equipment or basically, they can’t share anything at all, which makes it difficult to participate in the summer rec programs.
His recommendation to the board was to set the date of July 6 because parents like to plan and hope that it works out. By starting on that day, he said they could get in at least five weeks.
School Board member Tom Grundman said that parents, and students, have been through so much that setting a date gives them something to look forward to and holds out optimism for them.
Kalpin said he will talk with the coaches and make tentative plans to start summer rec on July 6, but that he will make sure they know that changes may be made if necessary.
Elementary Principal Shad Schmidt talked about summer school and said that if there ever was a summer to have summer school this would be it because of distance learning. But he doesn’t think it’s a good option and questioned how many students would participate.
“I don’t think we should do it,” said Schmidt. “I don’t really think it is the best summer to do it.”
School Board Chairperson Becky Hensley asked about offering more tutoring programs this fall, which was well received by Schmidt and Superintendent Randy Bergquist.
“I like the idea of tutoring programs this fall,” said Bergquist with Schmidt chiming in saying that all staff wants the students to succeed and would be willing to offer programs this fall.
Grundman asked if letters could be sent to parents with children who would be needing summer school to let them know it is not being offered npw but that programs would be offered at a later date. Schmidt said that letters would be mailed.
In other action, school board members approved running the summer latchkey program for those under the governor’s guideline for Tier 1 essential workers; approved the hiring of Doug Johnson as head wrestling coach; approved contract with A’viands for food service; and tabled a discussion on the new playground until the June regular board meeting.