BACK TO SCHOOL: How some districts are planning to handle covid-19 cases

School districts talk about plans for positive covid-19 cases.
School districts talk about plans for positive covid-19 cases.(WSAW)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:34 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Kids are heading back into school and covid-19 concerns could be on the rise for some parents.

School leaders said a lot of the plans are up in the air since there are multiple moving parts surrounding positive cases and how to move forward.

“I think really the biggest takeaway is that this isn’t a school issue this is a community issue,” Wisconsin Rapids School District Superintendent, Craig Broeren said.

Broeren explained that much of what the school does also depends on the community’s actions. “If people don’t get tested then we don’t know there are positives. We’re operating within the constraints of available information and it’s not a perfect scenario.”

He said looking back at the last school year, they were able to get through it. He said a lot of the spread didn’t happen in school buildings. “Most of the spread we were seeing was a result of in-home contact, which makes all kinds of sense because those folks live together.”

If an outbreak happens within schools, Broeren said it will be handled like it was last year. “I think it’s important with regard to mitigation strategy and limit spread is how you react when you have a positive case so that you limit spread to the degree that you can.”

As to how the school will work? “We’re not shifting kids between programs, you don’t get a different teacher, so what changes, is where you are and how you’re able to interact,” Broeren said.

Roosevelt Elementary School in Plover will also be taking similar steps. “There is definitely a possibility we could flip to e-learning based on all of those pieces,” The School’s Principal, Kelly Snyder-Chase said.

Merill Area School District’s Superintendent said they will quarantine a classroom before they quarantine a building. That means teachers and students within a classroom will continue virtually while quarantined. “That’s much easier to do when it’s an entire classroom,” John Sample said.

Sample said it becomes problematic when multiple classrooms are having to be quarantined to make the decision for the whole building. “...And it truly comes down to not being able to have enough staff to number one keep our students and staff that are on the premises safe. And number two for clarity of instruction.”

Sample said those decisions will be made as cases arise.

One lesson Sample said he even learned was about virtual learning. “When you’ve got a computer there really was no start time and end time that that computer as long as it’s on your dining room table, that you’re working. And so I had to do a much better job as a leader to say these are our hours of instruction and everything can wait until the next day, otherwise we’re not going to have enough stamina to make it through the school year.”

All school leaders left a message for parents and kids, which is to be ready to be flexible in case anything were to happen regarding an outbreak.

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