Wausau School Board gives final approval for return to in-person school plan

The board voted 5-4 to approve the return-to-school plan
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau School Board gave its final vote of approval for their return-to-school plan Monday.

The plan, called “Project Relaunch," has students returning to in-person school November 2, with 4K through 5th-grade students returning on an everyday basis, while secondary school students will return on an alternating day format.

The vote comes after the board voted to move forward with the plan on September 28 but chose to reevaluate the decision Monday with more guidance from health officials. They will still continue to reevaluate the situation at each meeting.

The vote was approved by a five to four margin and followed an hour of discussions. That discussion largely revolved around whether or not children were safer in school than at home.

“At this time, I just don’t think that’s the safe thing to do,” Beth Martin, a board member, said about the decision. She added that she wants to see cases start to drop before making this decision.

“All of those kids that will be in schools will probably be exposed to better numbers,” Dr. Jeff Leigh, who was sworn into the board just minutes before the meeting began, said.

Currently, the school district has 17 students and staff who have tested positive, and 75 in quarantine, according to their online tracker.

When students are in school, the plan is to keep them socially distanced wherever possible. At the elementary level, they plan on keeping students contained in rooms while the teachers travel across rooms. This is aimed to contain the spread of the virus beyond the classroom.

They also have a survey out asking parents and students if they intend to remain virtual or return to in-person classes. Around 1,200 students, approximately 25% of the students in the district, have yet to respond.

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