With the 2019-2020 school year concluding, schools are looking ahead at what’s to come after summer break.

Braham Area School Board members gave credit to those who helped the school year remain successful and discussed plans for the future amidst the pandemic during their June 15 meeting.

“We made it, distance learning — credit to our parents, our teachers, our paras, for everything they did for our kids. Our distance learning day care, child care, went well; it’s a tough situation for our paras to be in, but I thought they did a really good job,” said Braham Area Elementary School Principal Jeff Eklund. “Being thrown a curve ball, as everyone in the country was, I’m really proud of the job our staff and our parents did to make this work.”

Throughout the distance learning time of the school year, Braham Area Elementary paraprofessionals were tasked with operating the school’s child care program with an average of eight to 13 children in attendance.

“We in reality, have no idea what’s going to happen in the fall; I believe the week of July 27 there will be a decision. As an admin team, we’ve run through a few different scenarios, and on the 27th we will go full speed ahead and give our teachers what they need to make it a successful experience for our kids,” Eklund added.

With possible options of returning to school with normal schedules, a hybrid version of classes, or continuing with distance learning, being able to prepare for the year ahead is important, according to school officials.

“So many people played an influencing factor during this distance learning that it definitely took a village during this time,” said Braham Area High School Principal Shawn Kuhnke. “Certainly things weren’t perfect, and we did send out a survey to see how things went as well. We’re going to take all of that information, and hopefully not need any of that distance learning information as we head into the fall; however, we’re not 100 percent that’s going to happen.”

“All of that feedback we’ve received is going to be very beneficial to us in making decisions moving forward so that we can make adjustments that are needed to smooth out the process as (we) provide a high-quality education for our students,” Kuhnke added.

In other business

• The school board set the dates of July 28 through Aug. 11 for affidavits of candidacy for filing for the school board election in the fall.

• Braham Area High School students Josh Klingensmith, Jaeden Klingensmith, Alison Murrell, Jenna Bryant, Sophie Anderson, Ella Sparks and Kyra Johnson participated in the Minnesota Youth Institute competition through the University of Minnesota, along with 67 other students from across the state. The top students will be considered for the World Food Prize event in Iowa next year.

• Allina Health announced they will be continuing the Change to Chill partnership with Braham Area High School for the 2020-2021 school year. The school was awarded $500 to create a physical and/or virtual space, a “Chill Zone,” for teens to relax.

• The next Braham Area School Board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 20.

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