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Wisconsin Education Association Council grades 12 district reopening plans

Posted at 4:40 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 18:39:11-04

A state group of educators created a grading system for school reopening plans, as some districts finalize their approach.

Even down to the wire opinions on how to reopen schools remains divided.

On Monday night a district official in Greenfield read parents' comments.

"We cannot accommodate full virtual learning as we are two full-time working parents," wrote one parent.

"By starting virtually there'll be no need to stop and start instruction when students and staff get sick," said another parent.

The Greenfield School Board approved a phased-in approach where all students start virtually.

Reopening plans vary between districts.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council, which is made up of teachers and paraprofessionals, graded 12 reopening plans.
"I do think we're educating the community, and we're educating even staff and administrators of the schools and the districts to be able to look at some things that maybe they hadn't considered before," said Christine Janusiak, who is part of the WEAC's Region 7 and Co-President for the Cudahy Education Association.

The grading was based on more than a dozen different criteria: phase-in to in-person learning, school-based COVID-19 testing and tracing, regular testing of staff and students, established and public reclosing matrix, mandatory mask-wearing by students and staff, cohort staff and students, six feet social distancing, daily in-building temperature checks, minimum thresholds for air circulation and quality, modified coronavirus sick leave policies, accommodations for vulnerable staff and students, frontline educators and their associations involved in all planning, adequate health personnel, and substitute availability.

Out of 12 local districts, half of them got an "F." That includes Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Kettle Moraine, Oak Creek-Franklin, and West Bend. St. Francis and Kenosha got a C. Racine, Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, and West Allis West Milwaukee got a B.

Conditions for a Safe Return Handout by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

Teachers unions have been vocal, protesting to push for virtual learning.

We asked the WEAC why districts with in-person learning in their reopening plans, even with changes to mitigate COVID-19, got worse grades.

"I would ask them to really look at those conditions, those criteria. These are based on science and they're based on health recommendations," said Janusiak.

"We're not doing this for any other reason but to move things forward and to educate the public. We just want everybody to know what schools are like what the conditions are like before something bad would happen to a student or staff member," Janusiak added.

The WEAC may put out another report card that includes more districts and any changes to reopening plans.

To see the grades and rationale for the current report card see below.

WEAC School District Safety Rating Complete Report by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

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