SHULLSBURG – With the new Safe at Home order extended until May 26, Gov. Tony Evers closed all public and private schools for the rest of the school year. The Shullsburg School District’s Board of Education met on Wednesday, April 22 via Zoom to discuss options for events such as senior graduation, eighth grade graduation and junior prom.
Ella Reilly, a senior at Shullsburg and the class president, gave a statement about what the seniors would like to see done.
“It is not just us and our parents that did this work. We would like [the ceremony] to include our parents, class and other family members. If we could try and plan on what will work legally so the seniors can get proper recognition,” Reilly said.
Reilly understood that graduation might have to happen during the summer time and felt that her fellow classmates would also understand.
District Administrator Mark Lierman stated he had a conversation with some seniors and parents in a group meeting about what was to happen. Lierman stated there was some confusion about what has happened but ultimately the decision for graduation was up to the board.
“From what I understood, the seniors want a to have a traditional ceremony or something in person. If the governor’s orders stay true it won’t be happening until June 30. July is also on the table. Who knows what is going to happen,” Lierman said.
Gov. Tony Evers stated that no students were allowed on school grounds and no school related functions were to happen on school grounds until the end of the school calendar year, which meant June 30.
Lierman still wanted to be able to honor the students but felt in person might not work due to the governor’s order.
Lauren Ray suggested that since the order said nothing until after June 30, the board could look at doing the graduation in conjunction with the July 4 holiday, which is a big celebration in Shullsburg.
“You will have the biggest chance to have more people still here,” Ray said.
Board member Nathan Russell felt the district should do something for the seniors sooner rather than later. He read the order to say that there can be no functions on school grounds but the ceremony could take place off of school property.
“Churches, parks, other facilities, maybe they will let us do it,” Russell said.
He added that the senior awards could be done at the same time or same day. He felt the board should come up with a couple of dates to see about when the graduation ceremony could take place and he volunteered to speak to the city about the ability to use the park.
Eighth Grade Graduation
Chad Teasdale asked the board if it was too much trouble to have the regular high school graduation ceremony on the same day as the eighth grade graduation.
Russell agreed that everything would already be set up if the district planned on having eighth grade graduation in the morning and high school near late afternoon. He added they needed to figure out how many people they could handle in the area at one time.
“We could sanitize the bleachers afterwards. That might be an avenue to do that. It is a solution that we could get it done.
The board agreed with the idea.
Russell gave the option of having prom in August right before school started.
“It would be an interesting way to get us out of this funk but safely,” Russell said.
Jacinda Gunnell asked if The Pit floor would be completed by August just in case they had prom then. Lierman stated he spoke with the people at Stalker Floors and they are working on getting to the district soon. The COVID-19 pandemic has left them short staffed but Lierman anticipates the flooring will be done.
Other maintenance in the school has started and summer cleaning has begun.
With in-person school instruction stopped until June 30, that cuts into the districts summer school program. Lierman said there were options to having summer school in July. The district could even push summer school into August but was unsure how the FTE’s (full-time equivalency) from summer school would be counted. That would affect the district’s aid and revenue limit. If the district doesn’t get any summer school FTEs, they can’t claim them on the revenue limit worksheet, causing issues with the school aid.
“We don’t know what we are allowed to do. I have no idea if the FTEs will carry over from August into next year. I’m trying to foresee the future but the information I am getting keeps changing. I don’t want to eliminate the idea of summer school,” Lierman said.