MASON CITY — The superintendent of the Mason City Community School District credits the hard work of his staff in dealing with all the challenges of moving from educating students in the classroom to online learning.Dave Versteeg says teachers miss connecting with their students face-to-face on a daily basis. “The emotional part about connecting with students has been the biggest difficulty for our staff and I just appreciate how hard they worked at trying to connect with students. From the emails and the phone calls they’ve made to students and some electronic meetings they’ve had with students, just to our tours in neighborhoods to try to connect with students. That emotional connection has been extremely important.”Versteeg says with the closing of school for the rest of the year, it’s meant that a few traditional end of the school year events have had to change. “Graduation is still scheduled for June 7th. We know it will not be a traditional event. Details of how this event will be held are currently being determined by a committee of staff and students. The senior award ceremony is being planned to be held on May 12th. This will not be an in-person event. Details will be coming to seniors soon.”Versteeg says while the June 7th graduation ceremony will likely not be a traditional event, they are working on some ideas to make it as special as possible for the Class of 2020. “I think we have some ideas in mind that can happen on June 7th, it’s just not going to probably be an in-person graduation in the traditional sense. But for right now, we’re committed to June 7th at figuring out something to celebrate the 2020 senior graduates.”Versteeg says guidelines and protocol on social distancing will be one of the big determining factors on how the graduation ceremony will be held.Versteeg made his comments on Wednesday during the weekly Cerro Gordo County COVID-19 press conference.
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