During Monday night’s regular meeting, USD 413 Board of Education members discussed plans for the 2020 graduation ceremony.

Graduation will be held on Friday evening at 7 pm at the Chanute Community Sports Complex, following several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and guests are asked to practice social distancing as much as possible while sitting in the stands. No one but USD 413 officials and graduates will be allowed on the field until after the ceremony. 

Assistant Superintendent Matt Koester said that they will not be policing social distancing in the stands. 

“This night is about the graduates; it’s their night. It just wouldn’t make sense to police everyone,” he said.

Masks are also recommended, but not required. Anyone who feels sick is asked to stay home.

The board chose to lessen the dress requirements for graduates due to the extreme heat. Graduates will be allowed to wear shorts under their gowns.

Guests are asked to bring their own drinks to stay hydrated. 

Family and friends will be allowed on the field to take pictures following the ceremony. 

For those unable to attend, livestream via YouTube will be made available with a link posted on the school’s Facebook page, website and on Twitter.

Seniors will be holding a practice ceremony at 9 am Friday morning. 

In case of inclement weather, the district will make a final decision by 5:30 pm. The makeup date, should postponement be necessary, will be 9 am Saturday.

“We will have lightning detectors on the property,” Superintendent Kellen Adams said. “We will take all safety precautions.” 

Summer School hot  

topic at BOE meeting

To wear masks or not wear masks at summer school – that was the biggest topic up for discussion on Monday night. 

After shutting down summer school and all other district student activities for this week, Assistant Superintendent Tracy Maring said a survey was sent to parents of the 201 students who are attending the classes.

“This is a highly political topic,” Maring said. “People really have their beliefs and they feel strongly about them.”

Maring said the district received approximately 100 responses on the first day and 39 percent said if masks were required, then their children would not be coming back to classes. 

Maring said the district is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“We have 4,000 masks, so we could hand out masks to the students every day. But you have parents who don’t want their kids to wear masks, and parents that want masks required. If we make wearing masks optional, then I feel like we will lose students on the other end of the spectrum, who require wearing a mask,” she said. 

Of the 201 students, 51 students are in the Jump Start program, with another 50 students in kindergarten.

“This is another issue. When dealing with little kids, we have plenty of room to social distance. But at 4 or 5 years old, these kids are always hugging each other and playing together. Trying to keep kids apart is almost impossible, much less getting them to wear masks,” Maring said. 

Administrators are trying to come to a solution by the end of the week.

Board member Gary Wheeler added, “Whatever is decided, we need to make it very clear this has zero to do with how we will approach the upcoming school year. We still don’t know what it will look like at that time.”


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