Detroit Lakes School Board members learned at Monday night's board meeting that while Minnesota's statewide mask-wearing mandate was officially lifted on Friday, May 14, students at all of the district's K-12 facilities will still be required to wear them through the end of the school year.
"Every district will continue to follow the (Minnesota Department of Education) Safe Learning Plan through May 28," said Detroit Lakes Superintendent Mark Jenson — and that means masks must still be worn when indoors. Social distancing and other pandemic safety protocols must also be followed.
Masks will also be required at Detroit Lakes High School's graduation festivities on Saturday, May 29, he added — despite the fact that the ceremony will once again be held outdoors, at Mollberg Field.
This is because more than 500 people are expected to be in attendance, Jenson added. When asked by one of the board members, he said he didn't expect masking requirements to continue beyond the end of school year, though discussions were still being held regarding summer school.
"It (summer school) is going to be full," Jenson said later in the meeting, noting that more than 1,000 students are expected to attend.
Also this summer, the school district will continue to offer its summer foods program to families living in the district. Qualified families can pick up one-week meal packs every Wednesday from noon to 5:30 p.m. Though additional pickup locations were offered last summer, the M State campus in Detroit Lakes will be the only distribution site this year. For more information, send an email to email@example.com or call the district office at 218-847-9271.
In other business at Monday night's meeting, the board:
- Approved three change orders for ongoing construction at Detroit Lakes High School. The net cost of the change orders to the district will be $445, though part of the changes will involve utilizing existing doors and related hardware, resulting in a savings of just under $14,000. Other approved changes included additional signage, soffits and chases. The district's $60 million, two-year construction project at all four of its main academic buildings is now just over 75% complete, with most of the remaining improvements to take place at the high school, according to a construction update that was included with the change orders.
- Approved a 15-year lease for the former Solutions building in Detroit Lakes, which will house the district's new Transitions program for special education students. The board also approved authorization for the district to retain the services of an architect for renovations to the building, though Jenson said at the meeting that the cost of the renovations would be minimal, as not much is needed to be done to the building to make it ready for the program. At the end of the 15-year lease, the school district will have the option of purchasing the building, he added.
- Approved a new five-year strategic plan for the district. Jenson noted that the plan is a "living document" that will be updated as changes become necessary.
- Approved resolutions for the termination and non-renewal of teaching contracts for two instructors, Jeffrey Mosca and Kelly Gag: Jenson said that this action was taken mainly due to the state's teacher licensure requirements and "would not necessarily" result in a reduction of staff.