Local districts prepare for start of 2020-21 school year
School District of Cashton
Cashton schools plan to begin classes on Sept. 1 under guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Monroe and Vernon County Health Departments.
The district’s current plans offer flexibility between in person and online instruction and reflect a preference for traditional classroom learning and focus on current conditions to safely open schools.
Cashton has implemented three modes of instruction; onsite instruction, blended instruction and virtual instruction.
The district is using a modified school day for onsite instruction beginning at 7:55 a.m. for high school and middle school students until 2:28 p.m. Elementary students will be in class from 8 a.m. until 2:20 p.m., both five days a week.
The district will also be offering a blended learning model driven by factors that include possible staff exposure, student exposure and building exposure. Its purpose is to help students receive in person instruction in alternative ways while ill or quarantined at home as well as to prepare families for potential, short-term building closures throughout the school year.
For blended instruction, students would follow their daily schedule and complete assigned tasks. Each student will be issued a district-owned tech device; students in virtual cohorts will learn alongside their in-class counterparts.
Cashton will also be offering virtual instruction for families, which will require a semester commitment, access to the internet and age-appropriate supervision. Instruction will be provided by a district instructor using online materials provided through Wisconsin Virtual School.
Various safety measures and transmission mitigation strategies have been put in place to ensure the safety of staff and students including increased ventilation, daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols, a change in communal spaces, promotion of proper hand hygiene, safety signage as well as mandatory face coverings.
For a full, detailed list of safety mitigations and additional information on a return to Cashton schools, visit the district’s website at https://www.cashton.k12.wi.us.
Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District
N-O-W School District will also be starting the 2020-2021 school year on Sept. 1 with two options offered to families.
For students attending in-person learning, classes will be held five days per week with a modified schedule for students in grades K-12; PreK students will either attend in person on Mondays/Tuesdays or Thursdays/Fridays.
Students will arrive at school no earlier than 7:45 a.m. and will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m.
Each day, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., will be virtual teaching/learning time for teachers to connect with students who may be absent from school due to quarantine or other health-related concerns, build virtual lessons and create and upload learning materials.
The additional time also allows for staff to conduct deep cleaning throughout the school building to ensure it is as safe as possible for staff and students.
The district will follow and enforce all state executive orders/mandates. The use of face coverings will be mandatory in hallways and anytime an individual is within six feet of another person.
Other mitigation measures include physical distancing, hand sanitizing stations in each classroom and throughout the building, restricted visitor access, cleaning buses daily, cleaning high touch areas multiple times throughout the day, plexiglass dividers in high traffic areas and no-touch lunch purchasing options.
The district will also be offering virtual learning options for all students in grades K-12 on a semester-by-semester basis. For students in grades 6-12, the district will be partnering with Wisconsin Virtual School (WVS); students in grades K-5 will be offered Falcons Virtual Academy, which will be taught by district teachers.
For additional information on N-O-W reopening and a full list of safety mitigation and expectations for families, visit the district’s webpage at https://www.now.k12.wi.us.
Tomah Area School District
Classes for the Tomah Area School District are slated to start Sept. 1 with in person instruction, virtual education or a combination. Essential learning standards are identified at each grade level and in each content area; these essential skills will continue to be the focus of instruction.
The District is one-to-one for technology and all students will begin the school year with a device. In the instance of a class or all school closure, elementary students will receive instruction using the Microsoft 365 app on their school provided i-Pads.
Blended learning for students in grades 6-12 will be delivered using the Schoology Learning Management System, which will be consistently used in each subject area, in addition to utilizing Microsoft 365 for virtual meetings.
Interventions for students who may require additional help will be provided. Tomah Middle School will provide homework help Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. virtually and Tomah High School will also provide time to support students.
The elementary virtual learning option will use the curriculum resources from Rural Virtual Academy, which will be taught by district staff. The middle and high school students will receive virtual instruction through Schoology.
The district will also be implementing several mitigation measures including mandatory face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and increased sanitation practices as well as self-wellness checks by district families and staff.
For more general information on Tomah’s back to school plan and mitigation measures, visit the district’s website at https://www.tomah.education.
Sparta Area School District
Sept. 1-4 will be a “soft opening” throughout the Sparta Area School District, which has planned for in-building instruction, virtual instruction and blended instruction. The first week back to school will consist of meetings and activities combining orientations, open houses, technology check-outs and students will get to meet their teachers.
The district will utilize a color system (green, yellow, orange, red) to determine the level of in-building learning, based on local COVID conditions. The status level will be updated every Wednesday afternoon, with guidance from the Monroe County Health Department (MCHD.)
Changes will go into full effect the following Monday. The SASD Color System is based on the Harvard Model, information from DHS and DPI and was developed in cooperation with the MCHD.
All students will be assigned a cohort for if/when a two-day model is in effect. Students assigned to Cohort A will attend school in-building on Monday and Tuesday and learn virtually Wednesday-Friday; students in Cohort B will attend virtually on Monday-Wednesday and learn in-building on Thursday and Friday.
Most students in grades 7-12 will begin the year using the cohort model as the SASD Color System is currently in yellow; all other grades, PreK-6 will run five days per week on a modified schedule. The model will fluctuate throughout the school year, depending on the color system level.
For students enrolled in Sparta Virtual Learning Academy, classes will start on Sept. 8, with a “soft opening” the week of Sept. 1-4.
The district has implemented a great deal of mitigation procedures to ensure the safety of everyone including mandatory face coverings, increased sanitation practices, social distancing and much more.
For more information on SASD’s back to school plan and a full list of guidance, visit the districts website at https://www.spartan.org.
Bangor School District
Bangor School District plans to open virtually for the first 30 days of the 2020-2021 school year due to recommendations and guidelines from the La Crosse County Health Department.
School will start Sept. 1 with staff using the first week to reach out to students and families to introduce themselves, answer questions and start building relationships in a similar way to the start of a traditional school year.
The virtual model will be reevaluated after 30 calendar days and a decision, based on the success of the program and the county’s health status, will be made on approximately Sept. 23 as to whether there will be a change in the instructional model.
Bangor students can either enroll in the district’s virtual platform, which will be taught by Bangor teachers or the Coulee Region Virtual Academy, which is taught by local teachers, Coulee Region Virtual Teachers, or teachers from around the state.
Elementary students will have Zoom meetings with teachers every day at 8, 9, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for 15 to 30-minute instruction by each student’s Bangor teachers followed by individual, independent activities.
For middle/high school students, classes will be held via Zoom by BSD teachers every hour each school day at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. for 15 to 30-minute instruction by Bangor teachers followed by individual, independent activities.
The afternoons will consist of teacher meetings, Zoom, with individuals or small groups based on student needs identified from morning instruction or past schoolwork.
For more detailed information on Bangor’s virtual instruction plan, visit the district’s website at https://www.bangor.k12.wi.us.