Schools shift to online education

Cedar Grove-Belgium hopes to learn from the experience, use new tools when brick-and-mortar returns
Ozaukee Press Staff

Gov. Tony Evers’ order to close schools due to the coronavirus didn’t take Cedar Grove-Belgium Supt. Claire Martin by surprise.

At the March 11 School Board meeting, Martin said she was already preparing.

“I have been busy in the last several weeks planning for something that I hope never happens,” she said.

She had already sent emails to staff and parents to make them aware of what may happen.

Evers first ordered schools closed for a month effective March 18, then expanded the time frame to indefinitely.

On Monday, he ordered no gatherings of 50 or more people take place. Cedar Grove-Belgium, which planned to hold brick-and-mortar school through Tuesday, closed its facilities at the end of Monday.

Martin said on March 11 that the high-schoolers already have Chromebooks they take home with them. Middle-schoolers have Chromebooks they don’t take home but could. The district has enough Chromebooks for second through fourth-graders and likely enough iPads for kindergarteners and first-graders.

Teachers on Thursday were to establish connections with students via online learning platforms and provide support to families who need help with the virtual system, according to a statement from Martin.

Parents and students are not expected to connect to school on Friday, the first day of spring break.

On Monday, March 30, online instruction is scheduled to begin.

“We know that it won’t be perfect. But we’re going to pull the trigger if we need to and keep momentum of our learning going forward,” she said at the board meeting.

“We’ll certainly learn from this experience as we go. We’re going to lean on each other and learn from each other.”

Martin cited a policy the board recently adopted that says if instruction is delivered virtually, that time counts toward the state requirement for instructional minutes.

High School Principal Josh Ketterhagen said some good will come of the online delivery, including teachers using resources they never knew existed.

“I think things are going to change that are good for our teachers and for our kids,” he said Tuesday night.

“I think we’ll be able to use what we learned through this.”

Martin said the online delivery could be used during cancellations for cold or snow.

“This is something the district can keep in mind going forward for future years,” she said.

“There’s no getting away from learning just because the school doors are closed.”

But the extracurricular activities students enjoy most are canceled. Sports are on hold, the high school band trip to Florida is canceled and the forensics season is likely over. The school play slated for May is in question, Ketterhagen said.

“It’s just upsetting. I’ve been in band four years now,” senior Shelby Cooney said at the Cedar Grove-Belgium Fitness Center on Monday.

The trip has been held every four years for the last four decades to give all students an opportunity to go.

The district’s food service program put together grab-and-go lunches for children — they need not be students in the district or receive free and reduced lunch — and distributed them on Wednesday at the middle school and Belgium Fire Department.

Food Nutrition Manager Tammy Peiffer said in a statement on the district’s website, that the meals are slated to be available again when the online school starts on March 30.

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the district’s facilities were closed to the public until further notice. Only essential personnel have building access.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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