SAUK RAPIDS -- Right now the entire Sauk Rapids-Rice school district is operating under the distance learning model.

On Wednesday night the school board voted to stay in the distance learning model until January 11th.

Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says, based on the feedback they're getting from health officials, it is likely they won't be able to bring students back into the classroom until after Christmas at the earliest.

Hopefully, after the holiday season, looking for schools to go to a less restrictive model and start to bring kids back, because we all know that for a vast majority of our kids getting them in school and with their teachers is something we'd all like to see happen.

Bergstrom says the feedback he's been getting from parents is that they are appreciative of the lengths the district has gone to in order to keep staff and students safe.

A couple of the concerns they have are the amount of screen time the students have and also finding supervision for the district's youngest students.

Bergstrom says once they get a handle on COVID-19 concerns and can start looking at other issues, one priority for the district will be deciding what to do with the unused former pool area in the middle school.

And whether it is to put a swimming pool into place or if it's going to be used for some other kind of utilization is yet to be determined.  But it is certainly something that we as a district are going to have to take a look at and do that sooner rather than later.

Prior to the election, a couple of school board members running for re-election expressed their desire to re-open the pool.

Meanwhile, the district has broken ground on the new Pleasantview Elementary school. Bergstrom says they are on track to have it completed and open in August of 2022.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice High School drama department performed a radio theater version of A Christmas Carol as a live stream event earlier this month. Coming-up this Saturday night you'll be able to hear it right here on WJON. Bergstrom says it is an opportunity for the kids to perform in a safe manner.

It really is a partnership with schools in the community in order to make things work and here is just another great example of a wonderful partnership.  I am looking forward to tuning in on the radio and listening to the play.

The group had routine temperature checks before each rehearsal, the cast and crew were required to wear masks, and they were seated six feet apart on stage.

Tune in to hear the play at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night here on WJON.

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