Racine Unified School District to begin offering in-person classes in March
Updated: 8:56 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2021
RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- At the Racine Unified School District Board meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, the district laid out its plan to begin offering families in-person classroom opportunities starting in March.
RUSD has not had in-person classes since spring of 2020.
The district faced mounting pressure from parents to move ahead with in-person classes while the teachers’ union voiced concerns about the spread of coronavirus and advocated for continued virtual learning.
The district presented a slideshow at Monday’s board meeting ahead of scheduled public testimony. RUSD is set to offer families in the district three options: in-person, remote and virtual.
The in-person option will allow students to return to their classrooms but still adhere to social distancing protocols. Students participating in the remote option will be following along the class via a livestream. The virtual option will be a separate program featuring certified virtual learning teachers.
The re-entry timeline begins in March. On March 1, grades pre-K, 5, 6, 9 and 12 reenter in-person classes. Grades 7 and 11 reenter on March 8. Grades 8 and 10 are the last group to reenter on March 15. The district said the timeline was, “carefully considered based on safety as well as educational and social emotional benefits” for its students.
All staff are set to return to buildings this week. The district said it is determined to provide necessary health measures to ensure safety for students and staff.
The new re-entry is also affecting things like how students ride the bus and eat meals in classrooms.
Posted: 4:26 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2021
RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) – The Racine Unified School District Board of Education was to get an update on the potential for the district to return to in-person classes or remain with remote learning options on Monday night.
The presentation by RUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien comes as pressure mounts on the district. This weekend, dueling rallies saw one in support of opening schools for in-person classes and the other calling for the district to remain in virtual learning as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“It’s been a challenge,” Ally Docksey told CBS 58.
Docksey is a parent of two children and a candidate for the Racine Unified School District Board of Education. Her oldest is a freshman in high school and chose to stay with his school which only offers a virtual option.
“He is not doing as well in classes that he would normally do very well in in-person,” Docksey said.
Docksey’s youngest son is in sixth grade and last fall chose to leave RUSD for a private school, something Docksey sees other parents and students doing as well.
“From what I see there is a mass exodus out of the district.”
Docksey hopes the district moves ahead with a plan to make in-person classes available again.
“We just want the option, that’s all we want,” Docksey said. “We understand there are families that don’t want to send their kids back to school and we completely respect that. But we want the board to direct the superintendent to establish a plan to get the kids back into school as soon as possible.”
The union representing teachers in RUSD said there is anxiety among its members as the district got an update on its plan for handling learning options.
“Morale is pretty low,” Angelina Cruz, president of Racine Educators United told CBS 58. “All educators and staff members are concerned the district will send them back into buildings in unsafe teaching and learning conditions.”
RUSD has remained closed to in-person classes since last spring, with the exception of certain students with special education needs.
Cruz is hopeful vaccines and aid from the federal government for PPE can mean a return to classes sooner rather than later, but she said now is not that time.
“As much as educators would like to be back in their classrooms, it’s just not safe to do so right now,” Cruz said.
The board of education meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 can be watched here:
https://rusd-org.zoom.us/j/92045017458 (Meeting ID: 920 4501 7458)
This story will be updated.