WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. — Whitefish Bay's board of education voted unanimously to approve a blended learning model for fall.
District leaders met virtually for roughly five hours Monday night, listening to impassioned public comment then voting for what they call an AA/BB model.
Students will split into two groups. Each will do in-person classes twice a week then remote virtual classes the remaining three days. One group will be in-person Monday and Tuesday, while the other group will do theirs Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a virtual day for all students.
There is a full-time virtual option for families who are not comfortable with in-person classes.
"We would not have made the recommendation if we could not attend to the CDC guidelines based upon the size of our classrooms and what's going on and COVID. I would not have been comfortable recommending all students return," said District Administrator John Thomsen.
Thomsen said face masks will be required, adding there is also a process for staff workplace accommodation requests.
"We're gonna have some families that are going to be selecting the virtual option and then when we have a collective group there. We're going to have some teachers that might prefer teaching that and when possible we're going to look for that match," said Thomsen.
"I still don’t know to be quite honest," said parent Katy McHugh.
With so much uncertainty, McHugh is still torn about her family's options. She wants consistency for her kids and more information on options for teachers.
"I think if I had to make a choice today I would pick the all virtual option just because there is so much unknown right now, and I think it would be consistent," said McHugh.
One grandmother thinks masks and social distancing at school will help, but she can't shake the worry.
"We’re worried once they get exposed to other kids how that’s going to affect our interaction with them," said Diane Kavalauskas.
Thomsen said the district is ready to pivot quickly if conditions change.