Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus school districts currently to start school year with normal format

Masks encouraged but not mandated

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Plans for the start of the school year in September are virtually back to normal with only some caveats at both the Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes school districts.

"Our plans are to move forward with in-person learning five days a week following a full schedule," said Jonathan Clark, Pine River-Backus superintendent. "As far as masks, it's going to be recommended but it's not going to be required."

"All students are returning to in-person learning five days a week at our normal school time with some possible online classes at the high school," said Kurt Stumpf, Pequot Lakes interim superintendent. "Masks are encouraged, especially for those who are not vaccinated, but they're not required except for on school buses and vans, which is a federal requirement."

Clark said they will also continue to share information on vaccination opportunities for students and families, but vaccinations will not be required.

"We're going to continue to keep an eye on things as they progress, but we're going to hope we can head everything off by following some of the practices we had last year as far as sanitization stations, encouraging refill bottle stations versus drinking fountains, and we'll be doing our cleaning between bus routes," Clark said. "Custodial staff will also be wiping down handles, but we're planning on opening up as normal."


PR-B may include some strategic planning to keep the crowding in hallways down between classes.

Both districts still have regular staff meetings as well as public board meetings before the start of the school year during which any additional changes may be discussed.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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