The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released a set of guidelines Monday in which K-12 schools could maintain social distancing this fall when they reopen.
“There will need to be social distancing, new cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and changes to how educators deliver instruction,” explained State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “There will be students who are not able to return to school due to health concerns and students and staff who may be quarantined due to exposure.”
It was stressed these guidelines are simply a tool to help local schools.
Among those guidelines were:
— Four-days week
Each student level (elementary, middle and high school) reports to school, outdoor learning spaces, or community-based organizations four full days a week. Schools are closed on the fifth day to allow for deep cleaning. One day per week is used for teacher planning and professional learning.
At first glance, I thought this would make the most sense, just for the social interaction (as much as allowed0 and getting kids back into a structural, school environment once again.
Then, I started to have second thoughts. How much cleaning can be done when students are in school four days a week. It’s going to be nowhere close to the “deep cleaning” that schools will have to be done.
If the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy (which every school and health official is going to say), then one would think one day of “deep cleaning” isn’t enough.
— Two-Day Rotation
All students report to school (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) while the rest of the time will be spent with virtual learning.
I’m indifferent about this one. I don’t see how this one is going to work.
— A/B Week Rotation
Half of the student population goes to school one week, while the other half participates in virtual learning.
This seems to me, an option that makes a lot of sense. It fulfills a little bit of everything — in-person education, schools would be able to keep up with the cleaning because the building won’t have full participation and everyone is learning. It might also be the best option for busing, which might be the biggest hurdle for schools to solve with the social distancing guidelines. Schools can bus to certain neighborhoods each week.
—Elementary Face-to-Face and Secondary Virtual Learning
Elementary students start back to school first, before other levels. Elementary students attend four days per week and are distributed across multiple sites (e.g. elementary and middle school buildings) to reduce the student-teacher ratio. Secondary students continue to engage in virtual learning.
I understand one school’s needs are different than another, but I can’t imagine most districts that are of a medium or smaller size would got for this. Secondary students need to be in school just as much as elementary students for the interaction with their fellow students and teachers.
It’s going to be an interesting couple of months for school districts.
Everyone who worked at the Baldwin-Woodville Virtual Graduation video should deserve a pat on the back or a thank you from the public. Did one have to be done? No. Was it a great way to honor the Class of 2020? Yes. Were the messages from the speakers effective? Absoutely.