Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that distance learning will remain in place for the rest of the school year.
The announcement didn't come as a surprise to many people, and though it was disappointing, Proctor High School Principal Tim Rohweder said just finally having a decision is welcomed news.
“We can officially begin moving forward,” he said.
Hermantown High School Principal John Muenich said the uncertainty about school has caused his students a lot of stress and anxiety.
“I think it may actually give students some relief with the message from the governor,” he said.
Rohweder said the decision by the governor may actually help with distance learning.
“We’ve had some students who haven’t really engaged yet in distance learning because a lot of them have expressed they were just going to wait until they come back and catch up then,” Rohweder said. “So just finally having that decision is, I think, going to help a lot of students.”
As for seniors, both Rohweder and Muenich both said though the decision may give some relief to students, it's still going to be hard on the seniors and their parents.
“For some parents, they might only have one child and this is their only child graduating, so there’s going to be a lot of grief involved with this decision,” Rohweder said.
With traditional graduations most likely being canceled, schools everywhere are working on plans to still honor their seniors, with their input, of course.
"Our schools will work with students and families to identify creative and meaningful ways to celebrate graduation and other traditional rites of passage," Duluth Public Schools Superintendent Bill Gronseth said in a statement Thursday.
Both Rohweder and Muenich said plans are still being worked out and they are asking seniors for ideas.
Duluth's Marshall School, which is not bound by the governor’s executive order, will abide by Walz’s decision and continue distance learning through the end of the year. As for graduation, Head of School Kevin Breen said he has a meeting with seniors Friday to hear their ideas, adding they have already suggested a “drive-in” graduation.
“We would like very much to have an in-person commencement,” Breen said. “To that end, we are monitoring the news and looking for our best window of opportunity.”
Breen said they are also giving some thought to combining graduation and alumni weekend, which is already scheduled for July 18.
“I hope that our seniors know that our teachers are thinking of them,” Muenich said. “We miss them and we’re going to do our best to try and honor their accomplishments now and until the end of the year.”
Breen said the class of 2020 will forever be remembered.
“For the last decade or so, we have worried about the resilience of our teens, but our senior class met this series of challenges with grit and valor,” Breen said. “There is almost no self-pity. Their eyes are forward, they encourage each other and they are setting a great example for the younger students. We are so very proud of them.”