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home : opinion : editorial
October 31, 2020

9/16/2020 9:26:00 AM
Better local schools

They say that adding the latest new things in buildings and technology does not always equal a dramatic improvement in education - but it doesn't hurt.
This week, students and staff members in the Windom and Mt. Lake school districts are surrounded by far better facilities than they had last year at this time. Both districts deserve credit for solid planning and preparation which resulted in these fine facilities.
Moreover, the residents of these districts ought to be congratulated for putting their trust and tax dollars toward these projects.
Because of the pandemic, neither district was able to showcase these outstanding projects through open houses and tours. However, they each showed tremendous assistance and cooperation for a pair of special editions that recently appeared in the Cottonwood County Citizen and Mt. Lake-Butterfield Observer/Advocate. Those editions were full of color photos and stories highlighting these projects - one featuring Windom Area Elementary and the other showcasing the Mt. Lake Public project.
In reading the articles, some residents may have assumed that these projects moved forward seamlessly and with great ease. Such an assumption could not be further from the truth.
Countless residents, school employees and school board members from both school districts selflessly contributed countless volunteer hours during exhaustive planning phases, research, organization, fine-tuning proposals and in educating residents in each community in the months and weeks leading up to the votes.
Beyond that, staff members from both districts put in plenty of extra work, assisting with plans, schedules and moving classroom materials and supplies for these projects.
Without all of these efforts, these projects and facilities most certainly would have been far less impressive.
As we begin this school year, it is clear that the pandemic has caused both of these facilities to operate far differently than intended for at least most of the first year of operation. Social distancing has caused schools to re-configure classrooms and alter health, music, career tech and physical education offerings. Even the cafeterias have changed significantly, with many students being required to eat lunch inside their classrooms.
In a year where the spotlight should be on these terrific new facilities, people are paying closer attention to how schools have completely changed how they educate children. And, depending on our county's case count, it is possible that students could be unable to even use these wonderful facilities for the entire year.
Nonetheless, we are confident that things will improve in 2020, and beyond, so that families and others can eventually see these buildings operate as intended.
Until then, area residents will send their children to school each day, knowing they are receiving outstanding educations in classrooms that are safe, secure and completely in line with what is offered in schools across the state.
    - Rahn Larson

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