Chisholm Middle School was decked out with signs and balloons Wednesday in recognition of the eighth-graders who finished the school year Friday and will be moving on to Newton High School.


Due to pandemic executive orders by Gov. Laura Kelly, students were unable to participate in an annual recognition ceremony and dance at the school. School buildings across the state were closed by Kelly in March to slow the spread of COVID-19.


For the Newton district, that meant moving to online instruction. Already a one-to-one technology district, the school loaned Chromebooks to students who needed them to continue school for the remainder of the year.


Students were also able to check in those Chromebooks used for learning at home Wednesday. Other devices will be returned to the school district this week, along with library books.


A graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 is tentatively scheduled for July 31 at Fischer Field, pending a phased program created by the governor to reopen the state of Kansas. Currently groups are limited to 10 or fewer people and social distancing — maintaining at least a 6-foot distance between people — is required. Group limitations will change to 15 people on Friday.


The district has scheduled one-stop enrollment for the 2020-21 school year for July 24 and the first day of school for Aug. 13.