State issues guidelines for new school year, final decisions fall on school districts

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 10:51:13-04

School as we know it is changing as the pandemic drags on. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released a guide on reopening schools this fall.

The guide, called "Education Forward," has information on infection control, considerations for special education, and potential learning scenarios. Those scenarios include hybrids of in-person instruction coupled with remote learning, as well as 4-day school weeks.

Parents across southeast Wisconsin are mixed about classes starting up this fall.

For Kristi Tysdal in Kenosha, the thought of sending her fourth-grader back to school worries her.

"People are not taking this seriously. I feel like if families were social distancing properly and using masks properly, I wouldn't be thinking twice," said Tysdal.

She prefers her daughter take part in remote learning to mitigate the risk of coronavirus.

"I was not real thrilled with the way the spring education went. However, I do feel like they were working hard, and I do feel that if we're virtual in the fall they have time to work the kinks out," said Tysdal.

Felix Ramsey Sr. said he is not too worried about his kids going back to school in Milwaukee. He prefers his kids to have an opportunity to learn in-person.

"When they let out the school should sanitize the schools every day," said Ramsey, "Parents should check and make sure the kids are safe every day before they leave, before they send them to school instead of infecting somebody else."

A parent's level of comfort is just one of the many factors school districts have to consider when creating a plan for the new school year.

"It is going to be a challenge for school districts to totally replicate what they were able to provide," said Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson.

Thompson said logistics and the uncertainty around coronavirus are the biggest challenges in formulating operational plans for multiple scenarios.

"Parents are going to have to be partners and all this. They're going to be partners ensuring they don't send their kids (to) school sick. They have to ensure that if there's protocols in place that the school wants to have in place for kids like wearing facial masks that the parents are supportive of those efforts," said Thompson.

A draft shows Milwaukee Public Schools is considering every option for student learning this fall. Nothing has been finalized.

Ultimately decisions on how to operate are up to school districts working with local health officials.

Read the full DPI guidelines below:

Education Forward Web by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

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More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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