As of Tuesday, March 24, when this edition of the Echo Journal was printed, Gov. Tim Walz hadn’t extended school closures beyond Friday, March 27. However, an extension was anticipated, and area schools have spent the past two weeks preparing for distance learning, or teaching students remotely.

Following are updates as of Tuesday, March 24.

Pequot Lakes School District

Buses will begin delivering food Thursday, March 26, to regular route stops, running two hours after normal morning pickup times.

Families who regularly drive their students to school are asked to pick up food and any items from teachers between 9-10 a.m. each day at the main entrance of Eagle View Elementary School or Pequot Lakes High School, or they can make a request to be added to a group bus stop that is closer to their home (Jenkins, Crosslake, Nisswa, Lake Shore, Mission Township and Fifty Lakes).

Pine River-Backus School District

Pine River-Backus School is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week to pick up students’ materials. Following are the guidelines:

  • One family member is allowed to enter the building and go to lockers to collect items.

  • K-grade 6 students: One family member may enter through Door 33.

  • Grades 7-12 students: One family member may enter through Door 2.

  • PreK students: One family member may enter through Door 26.

  • Families may have to drive to different doors depending on their children’s ages. The great hall and other elementary hallways will not be used for traffic flow.

  • PreK-grade 6 student supplies are in a bag in front of their locker with their name on it. The family member should collect this bag and empty the locker of remaining belongings.

  • Students have access to locker rooms. Staff are at each door to answer questions and direct traffic.

  • Grades 7-12 artwork is in the high school gym.

  • Students will not take home any packets or sheets related to their distance learning except a Chromebook or other electronic devices. Learning materials will be sent out later. Exceptions are textbooks in their lockers.

  • Chromebooks are in the performance gym. Families who need a device may check out a device (grades 2-6). Staff is in the gym to assist and to inventory needs.

  • Doors to the elementary are locked so there is no access to those classrooms.

  • Staff is stationed at the elementary doors and kindergarten lockers for the kindergarten families. They will radio in to have staff get the kindergarten supplies brought to them.

  • Families/students are asked to exercise social distancing and not loiter in the building.

This plan is designed to allow access to necessary materials while trying to maintain the safety and security of staff and students.

Crosslake Community School

Staff is on site through Friday, March 27, and the school building is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All lockers are being emptied.

Childcare is available during the day for healthcare and emergency workers for no charge. Childcare is available from 7-8 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. for a fee.

Call the school to make arrangements to pick up students’ belongings before Friday, March 27. Staff will have students’ belongings ready to go.

Anyone interested in breakfast or lunch daily (for family members under age 18) should call the school to make arrangements.

If a student needs the use of a school computer, families should contact the school to be added to a list. If a family indicated “yes” on a survey sent previously, that student is on the distribution list.

CCS’s webpage has a special tab for COVID-19 matters. Go to

Free lunch

Free lunches are available for students at the following area locations:

  • Pequot Lakes Schools: Students may pick up a bag with breakfast and lunch at the Eagle View Elementary School or high school main entrance from 7-8:30 a.m. or 3-4 p.m. daily until Friday, March 27. Plans are being established to deliver meals to students beginning Monday, March 30, assuming the governor extends the closure.

  • Pine River-Backus Schools: For families facing food insecurity issues during the school closure, the TigerDen food pantry is open during the school closure from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. For hours or availability, call 218-587-8000.

The school district is providing Take & Go Bag Lunches/Breakfasts for anyone 18 and under. They are available in the Commons Area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday. Delivery is offered to students who are enrolled in the PR-B School District and on a regular bus route.

  • A-Pine Family Restaurant: Free sack lunches with a sandwich, fruit, chips and milk are available from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, through March 27, at A-Pine Family Restaurant in Pequot Lakes/Jenkins. Call 218-568-8353 or stop by to pick up a lunch.

  • Main Street Ale House in Nisswa, and Ernie’s on Gull in East Gull Lake: These restaurants teamed up with US Foods to provide a well-balanced school lunch for free. Both restaurants open at 11 a.m.

Birchwood Char House & Bar: Free bagged lunches with a ham and cheese sandwich, chips, fruit cup and treat are offered to children in need. Call ahead: 218-675-6200.

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