Wauwatosa School District plans for in-person learning 5 days a week

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wauwatosa School District announced they plan to conduct in-person classroom learning five days per week, with students and staff following increased safety measures. 

According to a letter sent to Wauwatosa School District families, this week, the Wauwatosa School Board reviewed their Reopening Plan for the upcoming school year. The recommendations contained in the plan are based on the most current information available, which has been collected from a variety of sources including survey data from families, students and staff, Wauwatosa Health Department guidelines, Wisconsin Department of Instruction’s Education Forward Plan, The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), WIAA Guidelines for Athletics and local medical experts. We have collaborated extensively with the Wauwatosa Health Department and local pediatrician Dr. Timothy Richer throughout the planning process and will continue to do so

It is important to note that this plan is subject to change as new information becomes available and additional data is collected from families and staff.

Wauwatosa School District Reopening Plan

This fall, we intend to conduct in-person classroom learning five (5) days per week, with students and staff following increased safety measures. We have proactively developed contingencies to this plan including a hybrid model and a full-virtual option should we be unable to proceed with an in-person classroom learning model. We are also finalizing a full-virtual option for families who are uncomfortable sending their student to school for in-person learning. The Reopening Plan can be found here, and details are summarized below.

Key Changes: Buildings + Grounds

We will amplify the cleaning, sanitization and safety procedures in all District buildings. Plexiglass barriers will be used in spaces that require close interaction, and new HEPA air filters will increase circulation in classrooms and common areas. Furniture and student pedestrian patterns will be reconfigured to support social distancing, and sanitization stations will be installed to support increased hand hygiene. Water fountains will be available for bottle-filling and single-use cups will be provided for students without water bottles. Staff and students will be reminded of social distancing and hand hygiene through the use of floor stickers and signs. A separate health room will be used for students showing COVID-19 symptoms. We will limit the number of visitors and volunteers allowed in our buildings, and parents will be allowed to visit by appointment only. The District has not made a determination regarding mandatory masks and face coverings at this time. That decision will be made and communicated nearer the first day of school.

Key Changes: Teaching + Learning

As a District, we will be flexible in our ability to deliver instruction in any context and move quickly from face-to-face instruction to alternate forms of learning, including:

•A hybrid model that uses cohorts to alternate two in-person learning days with three virtual learning days to decrease classroom size and provide students with an opportunity to learn in-person each week.

•A full-virtual option for those families who are uncomfortable sending their student(s) to school for in-person learning. We will also utilize a full-virtual option if the community COVID-19 environment requires this. In addition to Wauwatosa Virtual Academy, we are planning to develop a virtual option taught by Wauwatosa School District teachers. More information will be provided in the coming weeks. Students in WSTEM, USTEM, Montessori and MSTEM who participate in a full-virtual option will maintain their lottery seat for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Families that select this virtual option will have the ability to move students back to traditional schools, but will be limited to doing so only during specific times of the school year.

Key Changes: Daily Norms

Daily routines for both staff and students will change to accommodate our new safety procedures. Student movement between classrooms will be limited and students must use their own supplies. No communal supplies will be allowed. Only small-group walking field trips will be permitted. Walking will also be encouraged to/from school, as will biking and single-family transport. Students who travel to and from school by bus will experience staggered seating and we will work with the bus company to install shields on busses that transport students with special needs. We will implement a soft landing arrival for secondary students and continue current soft landing procedures for elementary students to decrease congestion upon arrival. Pick up procedures will remain unchanged. We will work to accommodate any and all high-risk students based on their individual doctor’s recommendations.

Family + Student Responsibilities

At this time, we will not be implementing proactive temperature checks for all students. Not only have we determined that the time required to privately and confidentially take the temperatures of all of our students would not be feasible without impeding classroom time, but it’s also been proven that elevated temperatures are ~10% accurate in identifying individuals with COVID-19. It will be the responsibility of each student and their family to perform daily symptom checks at home each morning. If a student has a new or worsening cough, new or worsening shortness of breath, sore throat or muscle aches, they should not attend school and they should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. If anyone in a student’s home is being treated for COVID-19 or has been told by the Health Department to isolate, the student should not attend school.

Ongoing Communication

Moving forward, information about the upcoming school year and the Wauwatosa School District Reopening Plan can be found at HERE.

We will continually update this page with new information as the new school year approaches, remaining responsive in our planning and ensuring that families and students are regularly informed.

Next Steps

The Board will discuss and vote on our Reopening Plan on Monday, July 27, 2020. This is a public session and I encourage families and members of our community to attend.

In the meantime, we have developed a survey to gain insight into families’ initial thoughts about the Reopening Plan and their intentions for the upcoming school year. All responses are confidential. I ask that you please provide your feedback by 5 pm on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Please complete one survey per student.

Click HERE to access the survey.

As we approach the first day of school, the health and well-being of students and staff - as well as providing a highly-effective learning environment - will remain our top priorities. Our School Board, District leadership, Administrators and staff are committed to the safety and success of our students and staff. I am confident that we will work together and make thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of our community.

Share this article: