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Tri-County cancels final school days, cites warm weather and room conditions: As a result, graduation ceremony is open to the public


The original Tri-County School calendar had students continuing their school year with a couple days next week, including Tuesday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 2. Due to warm and humid outside temperatures and what Tri-County Superintendent-Principal Ryan Baron described as “unbearably hot” conditions in the elementary wing, Baron, with the approval of the Tri-County School Board, cancelled these final two school days.

May 27 will be the final student day at the school for this year. Originally it was just the Tri-County seniors’ last day. The school will not have a distance learning day on Friday, May 28, according to a letter announcing this cancellation from Baron, posted on the school’s “Back to School 2020-21” page on the school website.

Baron said staff would still come in on these days to do some “workshop things.”

At the board’s May 19 meeting, Baron asked the board if taking these final days off was something it wanted to do. He received the go ahead from the board to look into it.

Baron later mentioned how he would go to the high school staff the next day to check out their feelings about it, adding how he knew the feeling of the elementary staff— one expressing support for the decision to cancel these final two days. He said he would email the board before taking any action.

Given the go-ahead to investigate the upcoming weather for June 1 and June 2, Baron said he found the forecast for these days providing the same heat and humidity, as early forecasts showed these days reaching the mid 70’s, according to the letter.

“You can ask the elementary teachers too… Every year I’ve been here it’s been bad,” Baron said. “It seems like no matter what we do, we shut off the vents, stop pulling in the air and it still gets hot.”

During the board meeting, Baron said he could speak with Head Custodian Jaron Englund about ensuring the fans and air exchangers are on at night, something that Baron explained would pump cool air into the rooms, but help with the issue for “a little while.” He later mentioned some issues with this air equipment, saying “it’s not doing what it was doing.”

Staff at the meeting mentioned how a fellow staff member had to leave that day due to the warm inside temperatures, made more difficult with wearing masks.

“With the combination of masks, this heat is compounded,” Baron said in the letter.

During the conversation to the board, Baron highlighted his support for moving forward with cancelling these days.

“Here’s my only argument this year. I’ve never argued for it (cancelling the final school days) in the past,” Baron said. “But the only argument I have this year, in addition to it being unbearably hot and miserable down there, is, one, we have windows that increasingly don’t open because they’re old and are on a plan to be replaced.”

Baron also pointed to a potential impact on cancelling these days, specifically in regards to the upcoming senior graduation ceremony on May 28 at 6:00 pm.

In the letter, he mentioned how this decision to cancel these final days led to “one positive result.” The school will now be able to have the graduation ceremony without any capacity limits and distancing requirements. Abiding by the state’s indoor event and entertainment guidance, masks will no longer be required at this event, but unvaccinated individuals “should still wear a face covering.” The event is now open the public, not requiring any tickets.

Based on guidance, due to Tri-County originally having students returning to school (student contact days) following the graduation ceremony, it had to follow its safe learning plan for the graduation, meaning a limit on graduation attendance.

“Whereas if we have no student contact days left, we can revert back on that day, the twenty-eighth, we can revert back to… less restrictive measures,” Baron said, “which would give us a much, a more regular graduation that would be open more so to the public.”

In the letter on the school website, Baron highlighted how any families in need of childcare on May 28, June 1 and June 2 could receive it at the school. He asked people to contact the district office if they need to sign up their students for any of these days from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Any students receiving free meals during the distance learning Fridays will continue to receive these meals on May 28, June 1, and June 2. Families looking to sign up for meals on these days should contact the district office.

To see the complete story, read the May 27 issue of the North Star News in print or online.

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