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GHEC ready for grand march

GRANADA — While school may be out for the summer, students at Granada-Huntley-East Chain have a chance to enjoy an event they otherwise would have missed.

Prom, at least a grand march, is still on the schedule for GHEC students who wish to participate. Principal Doug Storbeck and Assistant Principal Taylor Topinka explained why the event — planned for June 27 — is going forward, as well as what safety measures are in place because of COVID-19.

“The end of April or the first weekend in May was our original prom date,” Storbeck said. “We postponed it to the end of the year, and then we postponed it to June 27. We did that to keep it somewhat within the school year, and close enough to the end of the school year for our graduating class.”

Storbeck noted that GHEC has been working with the class of 2020 on graduation and prom. This was done to accommodate the special events for the class, which has been so negatively impacted this year.

“We got the guidance from the state of Minnesota that we could utilize the indoor event guidelines set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health of a maximum of 250 people and 25 percent capacity,” Storbeck continued. “So we did a quick analysis, and we’re going to utilize both gymnasiums.”

Storbeck noted the event is simple a grand march; there will not be a dance. He also said there will be adequate seating available.

“We have approximate seating for about 1,200 individuals. That does not include any of the gym surface; that’s just a bench area in the two gymnasiums. We’re only going to be inviting about 200 people to actually watch because we’re taking into account the number of students who are going to be participating and the number of staff that are going to be helping with setup and the actual march.”

Storbeck said 200 is well below the 25 percent capacity guideline. Seating areas will be designated with social distancing guidelines followed, and precautions will be taken for couples participating in the march.

“We tried to get a sense from our students of what the most important memories they would have of prom would be,” Topinka said. “We’re really trying to incorporate that in the plan we’re putting together, and we’re hoping the plan meets those needs and will serve to create as many quality memories and experiences for our students as possible.”

Storbeck said he has received positive feedback from students and parents thanking GHEC administrators and the school board for allowing the event to take place.

“They’re very appreciative,” he said. “We had a lot of positive feedback on our graduation with the way that we set it up, trying to keep it as normal as possible. So they’ve shared their thankfulness that we’re able to make the accommodations that we’re doing.”

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