Despite growing concerns about the coronavirus, all Detroit Lakes school activities -- including upcoming trips -- will go on as scheduled.

At the behest of the Detroit Lakes School Board, Superintendent Doug Froke sent out a letter to parents via email Tuesday morning, letting them know that "until further notice, all school activities will proceed as planned.

"We are hearing questions regarding the possibility of cancellation of school or school events," Froke wrote. "Please know the answers to these questions won’t solely rest with the school district. There are protocols in place for situations of this nature."

As Froke told the school board at its special meeting Monday night, March 9, Detroit Lakes, like all school districts across the state, is receiving guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education on how to handle the issue of a potential outbreak.

One of the specific upcoming activities discussed at Monday's meeting was the Detroit Lakes High School choir trip to New York City that is scheduled for early April. That trip is set to take place as planned. Froke said that the group's travel consultant for the trip had informed them their money was 100% nonrefundable.

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Renee Kerzmann, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and technology, said during Monday's meeting that principals and teachers at each school in the district have put together preliminary outlines of what would happen if classes had to be suspended due to an outbreak.

"This is not a final plan," Kerzmann stated emphatically, but noted that the elementary, middle and high school plans would all likely include some form of e-learning.

She added that students who did not have access to the internet at home, or were unable to bring home their assignments on paper, would have to make up their e-learning assignments once school was back in session, just as students are required to make up classes missed due to illness.

Middle school construction update

Though coronavirus concerns dominated Monday's discussion, the purpose of the special meeting was to approve two alternates for the ongoing middle school construction project: Swapping the current main office space with the space where the kitchen now sits, and the removal and replacement of the southern stairwell.

The swapping of the office and kitchen areas will take place as part of this summer's planned construction, while the stairwell replacement will take place during the summer of 2021.