Back to school, it’s been five months in the making

Six-year-old Gavin Kappel was excited to head into first grade last week in Baldwin.

When it came to the opening of schools this fall, the staff of the Baldwin-Woodville district knew things wouldn’t be easy. But would it be worth it? Absolutely.

On Thursday, August 27and Friday, August 28, families who opted for in-person learning at B-W schools, sent their students back through district doors. Educators were reunited with faces they had not seen since the abrupt March closing of Wisconsin schools.

Although only a few days in, district Administrators feel it has been a great start to the year.

Viking Middle School Principal, Scott Benoy said, “The 2020-21 school year began at Viking Middle School on Thursday, August 27th. Viking staff greeted our incoming 6th grade students on that day. With our traditional orientation experiences cancelled due to Covid, Thursday provided the opportunity to have 6th grade only in the building. All hands were on deck as staff spent the day helping our 6th graders acclimate to a new environment. Despite very hot and humid conditions, excitement and enthusiasm were evident all day as students returned to in-school learning.”

He said Friday marked the first day of school for all other learners in the building and with COVID driven changes in place at the school, things looked a bit different for returning students. Class formation, scheduling, and student movement have all been altered in an attempt to make the return to school as safe as possible.

“The Viking staff was truly excited to see kids in the building again. Our school will certainly look different, with the health and safety of all being the top priority as we move forward through the 2020-21 school year,” said Benoy.

High School Principal David Brandvold said, “We have a new schedule and new lunch mods that we will need to adapt too. There has been a large amount of time planning to assist the county if we have contact tracing, if we have spread we are prepared for virtual and we are just concentrating on students getting used to being in their classrooms.”

He said many kids have not had much contact over the past five months. “We are far too early in the process and will continue to adjust our plans to fit the needs of kids and their own health,” Benoy said.

He said they are trying to be low key on issues like masks, cleaning, washing hands and all the while still trying to emphasize good health practices to keep everyone safe. Benoy said, “Attempting to have everyone feel safe is our first priority before we can really get into the actual day-to-day learning.”

He said,“I'm glad we have a few days in August to work through some of our new processes before we begin the heavy lifting in the learning process. Our low risk activities seem to be going well, (golf, tennis, and cross country) and I am glad we have some time in school before other activities actually begin. I will know more about how we are doing in about two weeks!”

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