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Ludlow Schools Prepare for Alternative Graduation Ceremony

Enrollment for preschool and kindergarten is down at Ludlow Independent Schools, as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people at home and schools closed.

Mary A. Goetz Elementary principal Jason Steffen said that there are about fifty-four or fifty-five students enrolled in the two programs, which is low.

Typically, students in the district would take home informational flyers, but those types of promotions are eliminated by the stay-at-home nature of the pandemic.

The school continues to accept enrollees. For families interested in sending their children to Ludlow for preschool or kindergarten, simply contact the school.

Meanwhile, the district is bracing for the lack of a traditional graduation ceremony for this year's senior class since mass gatherings remain blocked.

Ludlow High School principal Travis Caudill said that the district is considering an alternative. He presented the idea at Thursday's board of education meeting, which was held online for the same reason that schools are closed.

Caudill proposed that perhaps each senior and their family members could have a 10- to 15-minute portion of a day in which the student dons a cap and gown and walks across a stage. Caudill said that this strategy could take two or three days, but it would offer a graduation experience.

A Ludlow tradition includes graduating seniors heading to a nearby park and tossing their caps in the air at the same time. Since that likely won't be possible this year, it was suggested that each student could toss their cap in the air individually, and then images could be produced as a collage to simulate the annual photo.

"We haven't forgotten the seniors," said Superintendent Michael Borchers. "This is not the senior year we were expecting. You can't replace the prom or the senior parent night, but we are trying to come up with something."

Both principals, meanwhile, said that teachers continue to offer lessons online and that the district gave out around 250 laptops for student use with internet connection.

The district sent a questionnaire to parents asking for feedback on the learning programs. Most responses were positive, it was reported Thursday.

Superintendent Borchers said that the district's cafeteria staff has been divided into two teams to distribute breakfast and lunch to 450 students. The separation of teams would keep at least one in tact if one staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes ill forcing a team to quarantine.

The schools also continue to be cleaned by custodial staff, Borchers said.

The superintendent added that if money is awarded to the district by the state due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the district would buy more Chromebooks. The pandemic has shown how important they are for online learning, he said. 

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contirbutor