Appleton Area School District approves Safe School Reentry Plan

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 00:38:58-04

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) -- After a four-hour special meeting, the AASD's Board of Education formally approved a plan to return to school on September 1 as planned with three learning frameworks for students to utilize in the wake of COVID-19.

"No matter what model, kids will be engaged five days a week," Judy Baseman, Superintendent of Schools said.

The fully virtual model, using CANVAS learning management system, is available to all AASD students, five days a week. To accomodate this, Chromebook access programs have been expanded from early childhood to sixth grade students.

For early childhood, 4K, kindergarten, and first through fourth grade students, there is the option for fully in-person instruction.

For students in grades 5 through 12, there is a hybrid option with two consecutive days of in-person instruction paired with three days of virtual teaching.

Any engagement with in-person instruction will require all students and staff to wear face masks or coverings. AASD is able to provide these through DPI for all students, and the schools will wash them daily and return to students upon entry.

Other than for medical exemptions, families are expected to acknowledge that students utilizing in-person instruction will be required to wear a face mask or covering for the entirety of the school day.

The Board of Education continually referred to these three models on a spectrum of flexibility, with options to individually and organizationally reevaluate every quarter, as well as on a situtational basis if a classroom experienced a COVID-19 breakout.

As of publication, the plan is for secondary students to still move between classrooms for various classes throughout the day. Seating charts and staggered release times are part of the plan to minimize contact in high traffic areas, but students are also expected to wipe down their desks before they leave and at their next desk when they arrive.

Extended day programs are in development around the models, as are special education adaptations to recommended distancing guidelines.

In terms of transportation, AASD is encouraging as many students to walk or bike to school as possible. However, buses will provide sanitzer upon entry as well as require face masks. There will be assigned seating as well as plexiglass around the bus driver.

AASD intends to continue to provide meals for students, even those who chose the completely virtual option. In-person meals may be served in the cafeteria, delivered to the classroom, or a combination of both.

The already existing Health Rooms in AASD schools will only be used for non-COVID related issues and ailments. Schools will have to specift a new Health Isolation Room with a designated Health Isolation staff member to handle students that develop COVID-19 symptoms until they are picked up by parents or guardians.

Students will be asked to wait outside bathrooms for open stalls and use paper towels after washing hands because air dryers will be turned off.

On July 29, AASD will be emailing all families to ask for their commitment to the above plans for their students. Parents have until August 6 to respond before a district representative will be reaching out.