With the district’s decision to come back to four days of in-person instruction beginning January 4, 2021, we are preparing for this new situation. Our goal is to make the transition process as seamless and as safe as possible while acknowledging that this change will be a challenge.
First, an overview:
- The schools will facilitate four days in-person instruction and one day of independent learning, or four days virtual instruction and one day of independent learning. Families can still opt for in-person or virtual instruction. The form to request virtual instruction will be emailed to all elementary families.
- Wednesdays will be dedicated to independent learning for students. These days are essential for teachers to work together and collectively prepare for the best instruction possible. For example, we expect some shifting between in-person and virtual and vice versa due to the pandemic. Teachers will need time to communicate with students and families and provide support.
- There will be three sections for in-person instruction and one section for virtual instruction. At this time, the virtual students in grades 2-5 will be taught by a teaching intern. Teaching interns are similar to student teachers. They are finishing their coursework and will receive temporary licenses for instruction. They went through an interview process to ensure a quality experience for everyone.
- Students in the fourth section for grades 2-5 who will attend in-person instruction will be reassigned to a new classroom.
- In grades 4K/EC, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, instruction will remain largely the same. The 4K/EC program will continue as they have operated so far. Kindergarten will go back to full days of instruction (in-person) while providing virtual teaching. 1st grade will manage in-person and virtual instruction within the current faculty assigned.
What follows is information related to how we will manage the rest of the school operations in specific spaces and contexts.
- With a significant increase in students attending in-person, there will likely be more than one student per seat.
- Drivers will be supervising more students and helping them adhere to more rules, for example wearing face masks properly and keeping a healthy distance.
- Assigned seating for easier contact tracing will be expected.
- Students will be provided with 30 minutes to eat. They will enjoy lunch in their classrooms with staff instead of congregating in the gymnasium.
- Lunch supervisors will be available in hallways to collect waste, trays, etc.
- Because there will be no take down of lunch tables or clean up, our custodial staff will have more time to disinfect high-touch areas during the day.
- Students will also be provided with 30 minutes of lunch recess. Classes will be assigned to specific playground zones and times on a rotating basis.
- The importance of adhering to the designated spaces and the schedule will be reinforced to avoid classrooms mixing and creating avoidable close contacts.
- If indoor recess is necessary due to inclement weather, it will take place in classrooms.
- Art, music, and P.E. will be in their respective classrooms, e.g. the art room, the gymnasium.
- Life skills instruction (library, technology, counseling) may take place in the grade level classroom or in their respective rooms, depending on the activity.
- Specials and life skills will follow one-week shifts to reduce the number of contacts between faculty and students. Classes will receive two different sessions from the same department in one day, for example technology in the A.M. and library in the P.M. Next is a sample schedule:
- January 4-8: Life skills in grades K-2; Encore in grades 3-5
- January 11-15: Life skills in grades 3-5; Encore in grades K-2
- Virtual students will likely be able to access asynchronous instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and real time/synchronous instruction on Wednesday.
- With more students in school, hallways and other common areas will be more crowded.
- Upon arrival, students will still be expected to enter building through designated doors.
- 4K, 3-5: Upper doors by gymnasium
- K-2: Lower floor/main entrance doors
- Dismissal will be staggered. We will keep students in classrooms until it is time to leave, with assistants and specials faculty guiding bus riders to Front St.
- Bus riders will leave first.
- Walkers and students picked by families will leave second.
- We expect some movement between virtual and in-person instruction, especially in the beginning of the new semester. We hope that placements will become more solidified as the year progresses.
This is what we have at this time. We know this is not a perfect plan, only the best one we can develop right now. As things change, we will continue to keep you updated. Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters while doing our best to keep everyone safe and engaged.
PRINCIPAL, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Matt has served for over 20 years in public education. He started as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in a country school outside of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. After seven years of teaching, Matt served as an assistant principal, athletic director, and building principal all in Wisconsin Rapids. As an elementary principal with the Mineral Point Unified School District, he enjoys working with students, staff, and families in the collective pursuit of continuous learning.