Laker Link January 2021 - Updated

The Detroit Lakes High Newsletter for Parents and Guardians

Happy New Year! Welcome 2021!

I hope that you and your families had a good winter break and Holiday season. As we start the new year there is hope of returning students to school before the end of the school year.

As you will see in the information below, we plan to stay in DISTANCE learning from January 4 to January 15. The plan is to transition to the HYBRID schedule on January 19 for the rest of the month of January. The first semester will end on Friday, January 22.

The hope is that if the county COVID numbers continue to stay low, and the vaccinations are able to begin on time, we will be able to have some or all of our students back in the building the first week of February.

Masking and social distancing will still be required and we will still be making some adjustments. For now we plan to stay on our 4 block schedule as we have done most of the year.

I will be communicating more information to you as we get closer to January 15. As always our goal is to help students learn and be able to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic.

Thanks for your patience and support as we continue on through the year.

Darren Wolf, Principal

Updated Schedules

There will be some different schedules for the month of January. Please note:

  • When school resumes on Monday, January 4, we will continue in distance learning from Jan. 4 through January 15 on our ODD, EVEN schedule.

  • We plan to return to our Hybrid schedule on January 19, where the A students are in school on the first day and B students are remote. The next day the B students are in person and the A students are remote.
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  • Please note that the class period schedule will change back to Odd, Even, Even, Odd pattern so students can see their teachers once per week. The hope is to have our two weeks of hybrid before we start transitioning our students back to full in-person learning in February.

  • Here is a calendar of the class periods and the Groups from Jan. 19-29. Remember there is no school on January 18.
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Shortened Quarantine Guidelines

MDH has recently allowed individuals to shorten the quarantine period after an exposure for very specific situations. Starting Jan. 4, our school district will be allowing a 10 day shortened quarantine if you meet the following criteria:

  • You had a one time exposure such as in a classroom, sports practice/game, at an event or gathering.

  • You do not have any Covid-19 symptoms during the quarantine period.

  • You do not live with anyone who has Covid-19.

  • You agree to monitor for symptoms from day 11 to 14 and resume quarantine if any appear.

If someone in your household tests positive for Covid, you must still complete the 14 day quarantine period as before, even if you are able to isolate within the home.

If you have any questions, please contact the Health Office.

Updated Winter Sports Guidance and Information for MSHSL Member Schools

COVID-19 Youth and Adult Sports under Executive Order 20-103 was updated and COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults was released earlier today (Monday, December 28, 2020) by the Minnesota Department of Health.

This new guidance and information is very important as it allows the MSHSL to initiate a Board approved winter sports season model that includes the start of practice on January 4, 2021, and the start of competitions on January 14, 2021.

Please see the rest of the information at this link:

How Does Band Work During a Pandemic?

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There has possibly never been a time (at least in our lifetimes) where music has been so important, and critical, to a healthy life. In the DLHS Band program, we know and understand that making music is a stress reliever, a relaxer, a calmer, and a healer. We are so fortunate to still be able to make music, albeit in a much different way. There have been many challenges for sure, but we are doing things safely. When we were in the hybrid mode we had students spaced out in the band room as much as possible.

Each student had their own music and folder, their own instrument and music, no one was sharing anything. Brass and woodwind players had covers over the bells of their instruments (a facemask for their instrument, basically). Everyone wore masks. Again with the brass and woodwind players, we had specially designed facemasks that had slits in them to allow the mouthpiece of the instrument through, then a flap would come down over the top. We had puppy pads on the floor for the brass players to empty their water keys on. Percussionists all had their own sticks and mallets, which were disinfected after each use.

The music that we were playing had to be adjusted as well. With the bands broken apart, each of the smaller groups had an instrumentation that was very unbalanced (1 flute, 8 trumpets, 2 clarinets, 0 trombones for example). So the music that we were working on was called FLEX music - music arranged for 4 to 5 parts instead of the typical 20 or more parts. This allowed for an unbalanced band to still sound somewhat normal.

As far as concerts and performances went, everything was cancelled. We were able to play for 1 football game, although we were only allowed to play pre-game, instead of the whole game like we typically would.

Things have been more difficult since we've been in full distance learning. Band is not band when we can't play together. Everyone is playing by themselves at home now. So students have been practicing and recording themselves, sending their recordings in to me. I was fortunate enough to find a program that put all of the video recordings together, so we could have a virtual performance. The video is called "DLHS Bands 2020 Virtual Performance" on YouTube. While it's not the same as a live concert, it is nice to share a performance. It's so important to make meaningful music, and for that music to have a purpose. We hope that we will be able to have the bands play together again later this school year, and to have a live performance with an audience. Time will tell, but we will keep practicing for it no matter what. We know that when the day does come that we can play together and share our music, and it will, that those notes will give us the best goosebumps ever and fill our bodies with so much wonderful emotion.

Submitted by Tim Siewert, Band Director


Season’s Greetings and Sincere Wishes for a Happy New Year in 2021 from the Detroit Lakes High School Choir Program! The year 2020 has been a very busy and productive year for the DLHS 9-12 Laker Choir Program! Our goal this year has simply been to “SING!” With that specific goal in mind I would like to share with you the following:

On any given day, in towns both large and small, choirs across the country present hundreds of beautiful concerts. While audiences and choir singers alike have long understood the intrinsic value of singing together, the “2019 Chorus Impact Study” commissioned by Chorus America also shows us that participation in choirs cultivates positive attributes in singers, which in turn benefits communities.

Four primary findings emerged from the research:

#1. Choral singing is a significant part of American life, with more than 54 million Americans singing today.

  • The number of Americans singing has increased over the past decade, with more than 54 million adults and children participating in choral groups today. More than one in six Americans over the age of 18 sings in a choir/chorus.

  • The percentage of Americans singing today has increased over the past decade, up to 17% today from 14% in 2008.

  • Music education in schools is key to lifelong singing and the benefits it brings. The majority of adults singing today say that they began singing because of a school choral music program/education opportunity. Over half of all choral singers started in elementary school, and three-quarters started by the end of high school.

#2. Adults who sing in choruses report significant personal benefits, which include feeling less lonely, and more connected to others.

  • Nearly three-quarters of singers (73%) say choral singing helps them feel less alone or lonely. Compared to the general public, they are far less likely to report indicators of isolation or depression.

  • Choral singers report stronger relationships and better social skills than the public at large. Nearly 7 in 10 singers say that singing has helped them socialize better in other parts of their lives.

  • Choral singers credit singing in a chorus with making them more optimistic, mindful and resilient.

  • The more exposure people have to choral singing, the more benefits they report.

#3. Choral singers are remarkably strong contributors to their communities.

  • Chorus members give back to their communities in a big way. They are more likely to contribute financially to the organization that they support than the general public. They also volunteer more frequently than the general public in a wider range of areas of need both inside and outside of the arts-and they are more likely to take on leadership roles within the groups where they volunteer.

  • Chorus members are good citizens and exhibit greater civic leadership than the general public. Ninety percent of singers report that they vote regularly in national and local elections, while only 55% of the general public makes the same claim. Choral singers also run for public office more often than their fellow Americans.

  • Chorus members credit singing with helping them be better collaborators, team players, and listeners.

  • Chorus members are more adaptable and tolerant of others than the general population. Almost two-thirds of singers (63%) believe participating in a chorus has made them more open to and accepting of people who are different from them or hold different views.

4. Older choral singers report both a better quality of life and better overall health than the general public.

  • Singing in a chorus seems to have a significant impact on mental health. Older choral singers (age 65+) are less likely than the general public to say they have challenges with cognitive abilities, such as doing calculations in their heads, finding the right words to use, or organizing activities. Nearly eight in 10 older choristers credit their choral participation with helping to keep their mind sharper.

  • Older singers (age 65+) engage in a broader range of activities than the general public in the same age cohort, such as reading, attending cultural events, and physical activities. They are also significantly more likely to continue working, including working by choice.

  • Nearly 20% of older choristers say that choral singing has helped relieve or improve one or more chronic health conditions. Overall, singers who are age 65+ have fewer physical limitations than the general public of this same age.

  • As with adult singers of all ages, older singers report that being part of a chorus helps them feel less lonely. Older choristers are significantly less likely than the general population to say they “often feel left out” or isolated from others

~Excerpted from Chorus America


As we gathered together this fall as members of our 4 different performing ensembles – the DLHS Ninth Grade Choir, the DLHS Varsity Choir, the DLHS Laker Singers, and the DLHS Concert Choir – and discussed what was most important to all of us, we all agreed that what we wanted most of all was “to create rehearsals – to sing – to have as NORMAL a rehearsal classroom as possible!” (This objective was extremely important to all of us!) We discussed in great detail what we thought we should do with the music we were going to rehearse and learn in our rehearsals and decided that we would create a concert, a virtual concert for the holiday season.

In August, I selected and ordered a varied repertoire of holiday music for each of my choirs, with the goal in mind that we would create a virtual holiday performance after fully rehearsing the music during the fall semester. I specifically sought out and ordered quality music that had rehearsal accompaniment tracks and independent voice part rehearsal tracks that students could practice with at home for additional support. For example, in Concert Choir there was a rehearsal track for every voice part for every song – Bass, Tenor, Alto, Soprano, and if any of the main parts split into parts like Soprano 1 and Soprano 2, it also included the separate rehearsal tracks for the independent Soprano split parts. The rehearsal tracks were wonderful educational support materials for my students that were recorded by professional singers.

If a student was struggling learning a part during our online rehearsals, (90-minute rehearsals that breezed by every day!) all he/she needed to do was access the professional rehearsal track(s) and work on the part(s) with the digital recording found on Google Classroom. (I downloaded all of the digital material from the publisher and then uploaded it to my drive and then shared it to the appropriate Google Classroom.) In addition, all students were given copies of their own music to take with them, to have with them at all times. Lesson Plans were always updated on my Landing Page on the DLHS Website. Students were able to access the Landing Page and Google Classroom for clarification/assistance on any of our lessons/songs at any time. Students were then asked to video-record their assigned songs. (Some students audio-recorded.) Students needed two devices – a Chrome Book and a phone or a Chrome Book and a second computer, an ear bud and a microphone or ear bud with a built in microphone. (This was an extremely challenging aspect of creating the concert and we all learned a great deal!) Students recorded and then uploaded their recordings into song files on Google drive.

Once we retrieved all of the media files, we created the concert. The following link is the final product of our rehearsals and singing during our fall semester. Although it was a tremendous technical challenge to create a virtual concert, we are so excited to present our final product.

Most importantly, however, I want my students to know that I have their “backs!” I want my students to know that I believe that they are incredibly capable of accomplishing amazing goals! I want my students to know that they can do great things! I want my students to know that if they work hard they can achieve! I want my students to actualize, realize, and fulfill their talents and skills! I want my students to see and know that even in a Pandemic we can “be normal,” we can sing, we can be a choir, we can create a concert and we can share good will! I offer my sincere congratulations to my 9-12 DLHS Choir students who so thoroughly dedicated themselves to this project! Well done!

We pray for brighter days ahead, so please enjoy this gift of music from the DLHS 9-12 Laker Choir students.

Wishing you all the best in 2021!

Submitted by Kathy Larson, Choral Director

Holiday Concerts

Here are the link to the virtual concerts our band and choir directors but together to share with our community. Thanks for your hard work and diligence!

Teacher Teams Share Holiday Cheer with Students

9th grade teachers with gift bags

Here is a wonderful, heartwarming Christmas story. Our ninth grade teachers got an idea to share some Christmas cheer with students for the holidays. They reached out to the Detroit Lakes business community and received a ton of items to add to each bag for our 9th grade students. They started all of this and it literally snowballed into a huge experience. Students and parents drove up to get their gift bags! Here is one of the teacher teams handing out the bags to students.

Thanks for thinking of our students and giving them some Christmas cheer! You are TERRIFIC!

Distance Help Center

The Distance Help Center uses the current main gym as a work/study area for students that need additional academic support at DLHS. A small number of students will be assigned on different days of the week to provide assistance and connection to staff.

The Process to attend:

1. HS Staff sets up an appointment. Students and/or parents may contact the teacher to set up an appointment. Click here for contact info for teachers: LINK

2. The student reports to the Main Gym at date/time and either attends class in person or via Google Meet.

3. Students will email their teachers to alert them they are in the building working.

5. Staff in the Main Gym will assist students with any issues with logging in, organization, Work Completion Plan for the day, etc.

6. The school health clerk will verify that the student is not on the quarantine list. The student should not come to school if they have any symptoms the morning they are scheduled.

Rules for attendance:

1. Students are expected to use this time for work.

2. Students must be masked the entire time they are in the building.

3. We want students that attend to be free from ANY COVID symptoms, or have not been exposed to a person that has a positive test for COVID in the last 14 days.

4. We want students to come prepared with their Chromebook and textbooks and other learning materials.

5. We want students to come with a willingness to work hard and get help from teachers and staff.

6. We want students to be cooperative and advocate for their needs in a positive manner.

Check out our Monday Morning Announcements

Note to Families about COVID 19

Since we are beginning to allow a few students into the building for additional help, parents, please make sure that you report any illness and/or COVID exposure to the school office. It may not seem important while we are in distance learning, but if your child needs additional help, we want to keep all other students and staff safe as well.


Students are expected to connect with their teachers synchronously (live-streamed) during distance learning. Teachers will take attendance each period. If a student is sick and unable to be in attendance they should contact the school attendance line, listed at the bottom of this page. If a student has technology issues or has some other reason why they cannot attend synchronously, they should contact their teacher that day and notify them of the situation.

Link to info from the Health Office related to attendance:

Link to Covid screening tool:

MDH Letter to Parents regarding Attendance in a Pandemic: Attendance


Please click this link to connect to the Return to Learning page. There are links to the High School and Parent Resources that you will find helpful.

If you need additional information

If you have any questions or need additional information from us, please contact the school office at 218-847-4491.

Other important contact information

Student Attendance: 218-847-4491 * 2152

Activities Office: 218-847-4491 * 2196

Student Services Office: 218-847-4491 * 2217

Principal's Office: 218-847-4491 * 2191

Media Center: 218-847-4491 *2113