School will look different in the fall..Wisconsin DPI releases guidelines for the safe reopening of schools

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released guidelines early this morning for schools planning on reopening this fall.
Which means, your child’s school week is going to look different. But, Wisconsin schools will have a few options to choose from before that first bell rings come fall.

The Wisconsin DPI gave a number of options for schools to plan for, and then follow. Some of the options include a choice between a four day work week, a two day rotation, and elementary face to face and secondary virtual learning.

The four day work week option is where all levels, elementary, middle and high school, report to school, outdoor learning spaces, or community based organizations four full days a week. The fifth day, which in the report, is reserved for a Wednesday, the school is closed for deep cleaning and students log into school virtually.

Another option includes a two-day rotation, where students are split up into an A group and a B group, Two days the A group is physically in the classroom, and the B group is learning online. Wednesday the school is closed for deep cleaning, and the last two days of the week, the groups switch, Group B learns in person, and Group A learns online.

And another option schools could choose to only offer online virtual learning just like they did in the spring.

Superintendents from the Onalaska School district and West Salem School district approve of the guidelines.

“The alternating schedules, or distance learning, or putting the kids through school in smaller cohorts so that they can stay safe, they listed a bunch or resources around each one of those, and some additional questions to think about,” said Troy Gunderson, superintendent of West Salem School District.

The superintendents have been contemplating what to do for a while and are reflecting back to when the pandemic first began.

“Education is an essential function of society, and we know from feedback from our parents, our students and our staff, from their experience last spring, that remote learning is not the way that learning takes the best,” said Todd Antony, superintendent of Onalaska School District.

“Here’s chance to sort of hold the community together, and be that fiber that ties the knot,” said Gunderson.

But the biggest priority with deciding how to continue learning.

“First and foremost though, is safety and security,” said Antony.

There are still some questions that the recommendations left unanswered.

The Wisconsin DPI explained, they’re working with the Department of Children and Families to make sure childcare, food and other services are going to continue no matter the outcome of the school’s learning environment.

“We are taking all of the precautions and all of the measures needed in order to ensure that we can still continue those services that families depend on,” said Tamara Mouw, the director of teaching and learning at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Officials at the Wisconsin DPI say they are working with funds from the CARES act to provide computers and wifi to the children that did not have all the necessary learning from home tools last spring.

For the 83 page document with school reopening guidelines: https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sspw/pdf/Education_Forward_web.pdf

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