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Tentative plans

Marathon in-person commencement plans depend on state rules

The Marathon Board of Education on Thursday voted to hold an in-person high school graduation on Saturday, Aug. 8, if state COVID-19 rules will allow it. The commencement would be held in the school gymnasium.

Board members set the date after high school principal David Beranek reported on a survey given to both graduating seniors and their parents. The parents, he said, preferred a Saturday graduation and the students strongly opposed having a virtual, online graduation.

It is unknown whether state laws concerning the coronavirus will allow schools to hold in-person graduations. Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home executive orders lapse on Tuesday, May 26, but, conceivably, could be extended.

Board member Lia Klumpyan asked whether a graduation ceremony could be held outside.

Beranek said it would be difficult to make sure all of the people at the event were properly distanced from one another.

He said the school district, too, took on legal liability if someone were to be afflicted by COVID-19 because of graduation.

“If somebody got sick, they could sue you,” he said.

Board members suggested a graduation motorcade. New state rules forbid that alternative, it was said.

In other school board business:

_ Board members said final quarter grades for the 2019-20 school year would be Pass/Fail (Incomplete) unless a student wanted to receive a letter grade.

High school principal Beranek said he had studied a multitude of options concerning how to handle grades during this period of coronavirus distance learning at home. None, he said, were perfect.

“There are pros and cons to all of them,” he said.

Board members asked whether there were some students who have not done their school work after school closed due to COVID-19. Beranek said there were.

Board member Lia Klumpyan said the students who don’t do their school work shouldn’t receive the same grade as those that do.

“There needs to be some consequence for students who don’t do the work,” she said. “They need to be accountable. That’s their job.”

Principal Beranek said having traditional grading this last quarter was unfair to students who do not have good computer connections or live in a disruptive home environment.

_ Board members agreed Friday, May 22, would be the last regular day of school this school year. Teachers will work through Tuesday, June 9, concentrating on trying to get students to complete assignments so they don’t fail their classes.

_ Marathon Area Elementary School principal Sarah Budny said planning for summer school continues, but staff is unclear about what the state will allow. She said, too, she worries about what kind of social distancing parents would want to see children practicing.

“We need to know what parents want,” she said.