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Oconomowoc school district transitions to face-to-face learning model with virtual option

Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 14:57:06-04

OCONOMOWOC — The Oconomowoc Area School District will move students to full in-person learning with a virtual option starting on Monday.

The board's decision followed a meeting that lasted more than four hours that at times got heated.

Loud applause broke out after the school board voted. Some members expressed concern before the vote. Two board members voted against the superintendent's recommendation to implement face-to-face learning, another board member abstained. The remaining four members voted to approve the recommendation.

Currently, OASD students in grades 5-12 have a split attendance model while younger students learn in-person every day.

From time to time, the meeting got heated. You could hear the emotion and frustration of parents and board members.

Currently, three students tested positive for COVID-19 and one staff member. District officials say at this point there is no evidence those cases were transmitted in their schools.

For hours, district officials made their case to show they are ready to bring students back, explaining that mitigation strategies will continue including mask-wearing.

"Having had the experience of a hybrid model, we think now we're even more prepared as we move through a very unknown year, to be able to if necessary as we talked about tonight move back to that model," Superintendent Roger Rindo said after the meeting.

"I think everyone has a degree of risk involved in what their thinking is around this. I will say confidently that what we’ve done since march has been very supportive of teachers highly supportive of the work that they’re doing highly support about the training necessary. We'll certainly acknowledge and be responsive to the concerns that they have," Rindo added when asked about potential concerns among teachers.

Wednesday's vote also comes during an effort among some parents to recall 3 board members who previously voted against sending students back to full in-person learning.

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