Spirit Lake 7th Graders Attending Classes This School Year At Lutheran Lakeside Camp

Thu 10-8-2020

(Spirit Lake)-- Spirit Lake 7th graders are learning in a unique setting this school year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to social distance. They're attending classes at Lutheran Lakeside Camp. Brittney Swanson, the camp's Executive Director, says she approached school officials with the idea already back in March. Swanson says it's allowing additional room for social distancing at the Spirit Lake Middle School, while also giving 7th grade students some unique hands-on learning experiences...Brittney Swanson01 

"So we have 110 acres and a quarter of a mile of shoreline, so they're getting to do a lot of hands-on learning outside. They were doing, I'm not sure if it was like Social Studies or what class, but they were getting to measure tree trunks and they were trying to find the oldest tree on camp by measuring the trunks of the trees and counting something and doing a math equation to figure out how old the trees were. So they were all running around camp trying to find the biggest trunks and doing their math problems and trying to identify the trees, and that's something you would not get to do at a normal school campus."

Swanson says the 7th graders are spending their entire school days at the camp...Brittney Swanson02 

"Because we're so close to the main campus, parents can drop kids off here or if they have students in multiple grades or if the kids eat breakfast, they can drop off at the main middle school and they have shuttle buses that will bring them from the main school out here as well, so they can get dropped off here or at the main school, and then the same thing, they can get picked up here or buses will take them back to the main school and then they actually cook the meals at the main school and then they bring the hot food out here hot, and then serve it up out here."

She adds they didn't have to make many physical changes to their buildings to accommodate the classes...Brittney Swanson03 

"Well we didn't actually have camp this summer so we are a very small staff right now, and so the teachers were incredible. They came out a week before classes were going to start and they helped move a bunch of just furniture out of the way so we could make room for their desks and tables, and we did a bunch of cleaning that was really needed because we didn't use them all summer. But we didn't have to renovate anything. We re-did a deck so the stairs were safe for the kids, but that was pretty much it."

Swanson says the Spirit Lake School District provides the custodial and cleaning services as part of the arrangement.