Winona Area Public Schools will not reopen for the rest of the academic year, after a decision announced by Gov. Tim Walz to have all schools continue distance learning.
Distance learning in the district will continue until June 5.
Plans to celebrate the graduating class have yet to be determined.
WAPS Superintendent Annette Freiheit said in a letter to the community, “For our Class of 2020, we will celebrate your achievements. We do not know what graduation or other end-of-the-year ceremonies will look like, but rest assured, your accomplishments, your contributions and your successes will be celebrated by our entire community. We will figure out a way.”
The district is postponing or canceling all events, activities and facility rentals during this time.
Refunds will be given to those who signed up for activities, as Minnesota State High School League has also canceled its spring season.
Freiheit wrote, “For our students involved in music, theater and athletics, we are sorry that we can’t watch you perform this spring. We know how hard you have been working, and how much you were looking forward to doing what you love in front of the people you love.”
The district office will also be closed, along with all of the buildings. Free meals will continue to be offered to children in the community.
Days have been designated to help staff plan for this extended change in regular learning.
Lisa Kulzer, a WAPS kindergarten teacher, shared on her class Facebook page in response to the decision, “This isn’t a surprise but it is so sad. This time that we are living through right now is really quite unbelievable. Parents and kids, four weeks in to Distance Learning and you’re doing great! Keep on keepin’ on! We’re in this together!”
Freiheit included in her letter to the WAPS community: “Simply put, we are heartbroken. This was the right decision for the long-term health of our students, families and community. Although we are not surprised by the decision, we are deeply saddened by what it means for our Winhawk family.
“For Winhawks of all ages, while this announcement means we can’t be physically together, we will continue to support you in any way we can, be it as a mentor, as an advocate, as a cheerleader or just as a friend. We are always in your corner, whether that corner is in a classroom or in a Zoom meeting, in our school hallways or in a Schoology message,” she said.
For more information about how WAPS is responding to COVID-19 concerns, visit www.winonaschools.org.
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