School district prepares reopening protocol

Most Grafton students will return to classrooms, but families still have access to virtual learning option
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School Board on Monday revisited its school-reopening plan before classes resume in the first week of September.

“We are still waiting on DHS (Wisconsin Department of Health Services). They are supposedly updating return-to-school guidelines in the near future,” Supt. Jeff Nelson said. 

Nelson said all teachers will be returning to the classroom this fall because there weren’t enough students who chose to learn from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

School officials said 206 elementary and middle school students have opted for online instruction along with 55 high school students.

According to the plan, all students who attend school are required to wear masks while walking through common areas but will be allowed to remove masks in the classroom if they are sitting six feet apart and working by themselves. Nelson said the district is waiting for guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on whether special-needs students are required to wear masks.

For students who are absent from school, the district has added 150 classroom webcams, microphone systems have been delivered and outdoor wifi has been set up at the high school, Director of Teaching and Learning Dianna Kresovic said. 

“Technology will be used for collaboration when possible, even for in-person students,” she said.

She also said all students will have assigned seats and be grouped in cohorts to minimize the chance of exposure to Covid-19. Students will be required to walk in a specific pattern through buildings to ensure social distancing is maintained between classes. 

Lunch and recess at the elementary schools and John Long Middle School has been split between the younger and older grade levels to allow for social distancing. Each week, grade levels will alternate eating in the cafeteria or the classroom. 

At the high school, a third lunch period was added to the schedule to limit the number of students in the cafeteria at one time.  

While the plan calls for classes to be held at school, students or family members who have health issues may choose a remote learning option, Nelson said. 

Families with students attending classes online will be required to exchange materials at school on a weekly basis to ensure they have the proper learning materials. The district will provide technology support to ensure access to all students.

Students who are bused to school will be required to sit with their siblings or by themselves in a row. Director of Business Services Topher Adams said he is working with GO Riteway to determine the logistics.

According to a survey of 958 parents in June, 58% of them preferred having complete in-person learning, 36% wanted a hybrid model of in-person and online learning and 6% wanted online learning. 

The board also approved its Covid-19 handbook at Monday’s meeting. The handbook outlines the district’s quarantine policy in the event someone is exposed to Covid-19. 

If someone tests positive, they will be quarantined for 10 days afterward. If a household member tests positive, the student or teacher must quarantine for at least 24 days.

If a person had close contact with someone who tests positive, an individual must quarantine for at least 14 days. 

Kresovic also said theatrical performances have been postponed for the first semester. 

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