The Campbell County School District is working to figure out what its plans are for upcoming events in the next few months.
Things like kindergarten screenings and summer school are coming up soon and there is uncertainty about if COVID-19 restrictions that include public schools being closed will be extended beyond April 30.
Trustee chairwoman Anne Ochs said she hopes school is back in session in August when the new term begins, but there’s a chance things won’t be completely back to normal by then.
She asked if schools would have to stagger kids in and out of buildings on some days to avoid having a certain number of people in them at one time. She also wondered if education would have to be a mixture of in-school and online learning.
“There’s so many questions and I know we’ve got a lot of things on our plate right now,” Ochs said.
Perhaps the most immediate concern for students and their families is graduation.
The graduation dates — which are May 14 for Westwood High School and May 17 for Campbell County, Thunder Basin and Wright high schools — have not changed because of the pandemic, but if Gov. Mark Gordon extends the closure of public places past April 30, the district will have to figure out an alternative to the traditional ceremonies.
“Putting that many people into a building isn’t going to work,” said board member Joe Lawrence. “We’ve got to do (graduation) somehow. I know how that’s going to work out.”
Board trustee Lisa Durgin said she’s had a lot of feedback on the issue.
“What I’m hearing, with a very strong voice from kids and adults alike, is they really don’t want to cancel graduation or have a virtual graduation, if at all possible,” she said.
She also wondered if prom could be included in any potential solution.
“As adults, we kind of minimize what prom means to these kids,” Durgin said. “But it’s a really big deal to kids, and it’s even becoming increasingly more of a big deal because of how they (aren’t seeing) each other right now.”
Eisenhauer said he’s been talking with high school principals about a plan. Parents of senior students will be asked to fill out a survey on whether they would want a virtual graduation that takes place on time, or to have a physical ceremony later in the next month or two.
If the weather’s nice, graduations could be held in stadiums to limit exposure, Eisenhauer said.
Durgin said many people would like a virtual graduation only as a last resort. It’s tricky, because the district is at the mercy of the governor and the state Department of Education.
But for now, she said “there’s some devastated families” that need hope.
“It plants a seed of hope if there’s a chance to still have it,” Durgin said. “We can only control what we can control. If we can’t extend it, it’s just the way it is.”