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Normal.

That is something Baker School District Superintendent Aaron Skogen hopes will be returning to the campuses in just a few months.

Or at least as close to normal as possible.

“We will be looking to operate as normal as possible,” he said, as the 2020-2021 school year got down to its final weeks.

A year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Montana, there were lots of changes schools were forced to adapt to. Now, with the virus positivity rates dropping and the number of vaccinations increasing, there are plans to return to a more normal educational environment.

The high school will be getting a little jump toward normalcy when they hold the 2021 graduation ceremony inside. A year ago, the ceremony was outside with the graduates spaced out.

The graduation day with be May 23, with the last day of school for the rest on May 27, the superintendent explained. There will be 28 seniors participating in the ceremony.

“This year, we will be back in the Longfellow gym, just like we have had in years past.” The school will discuss the capacity based on how healthy the county is and the school in early May and what the graduation ceremony will look like. “For the most part, we are looking at a fairly normal graduation, since the county has been so healthy,” he added.

Summer school plans  

“We are going to run our normal summer school programs like we have every year,” the superintendent said. “It is typically K through 6 and that will start in July.” There are no plans yet for any summer sessions at the high school level.

The school also took over the after school program last fall after the recreation department that had been handling it was closed down by the city of Baker. Still, the superintendent was pleased with how it had turned out. “It actually has gone really well. Our after school director has done a phenomenal job. He has a support staff and has been making that run smoothly for our kids and the school.”

The after school program maintained its level of enrollment after the transition, he said. “We ran our after school program the same as we had in the past. We just made sure we followed the same guidelines we had to follow at the schools in a normal day. We sanitized. We made sure we were spaced out and in smaller groups.”

Vaccinations available

“We have made vaccinations available to all of our staff. Everybody has had an opportunity to receive it. From a school standpoint, we are not taking a stand on vaccines being required or recommended. We are leaving it entirely up to each individual,” the superintendent said.

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