La Crosse superintendent promises learning during hiatus

It's possible students won't return this spring, but online efforts on horizon, Nelson says
New Logan High School principal named

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Although La Crosse School District students might not return to their classrooms this spring, Superintendent Randy Nelson vowed in a letter to parents and guardians Friday that the district is not abandoning its curriculum and learning will continue online.

“Our staff and administration are working diligently under circumstances that are quickly changing,” Nelson said. “The purpose of this message, however, is to maintain contact with you and provide an update on our school district’s efforts during this time.”

Thanking parents and guardians for their flexibility with schools closed, he noted that “According to state officials, Wisconsin schools are closed ‘indefinitely’ or ‘until the end of the health emergency.'”

Student services staffs are available to support students and families, Nelson wrote, adding, “If you or your child is in need of support, please reach out by email to your child’s school counselor, social worker or school psychologist. Staff are monitoring email regularly and will follow up as soon as possible.”

The district is leveraging federal food service provisions that allow school districts to distribute free breakfasts and lunches to individuals 18 and younger, he wrote. Along with the district’s transportation provider, GoRiteway, the district has established more than 30 sites where meals are provided Monday through Friday. An entry on the district’s website lists delivery times and meal sites.

“The School District of La Crosse remains committed to ensuring that we provide the best continuity in learning opportunities as we possibly can,” the superintendent wrote. “To this point, our first approach to this mandated time away from school is to make sure that our students and staff and families and community are safe.

“At the same time, we are doing what is necessary to begin more formalized online instruction. We have not abandoned our curriculum. Our teachers are connecting students with activities and assignments that are consistent with their classroom curriculum. Teachers are allowed to provide feedback on student work. Students can work with their teachers on prior gaps in learning as well.”

In preparation to begin online learning, with credit, Nelson said the district is:

  • Working to ensure that all students have reasonable access to wi-fi,
  • Addressing the online learning environment for every child with an Individualized Education Plan.
  • And providing the resources and supports necessary for our instructors to deliver instruction and assessments in an online environment.

“This may take several days, but I want to assure you that we are making progress on all three of these fronts, he wrote.

“Like you, I wish we had more answers than questions at this time. … I think it is likely that school closure will extend at least toward the end of April. I think it is POSSIBLE that school may be canceled for the rest of the school year.

“If, and when, these decisions are made for us, we will in turn respond with what we feel is the best course of action for our staff, our students, our families, and our community,” Nelson concluded.