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Green Bay schools to start with on-line learning

As Action 2 News first reported Thursday, the school district released a reopening plan that recommends all students start the school year online this fall.
Mask sits on desk in a classroom
Mask sits on desk in a classroom(WVLT)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:47 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News is learning more details about the school district’s plan for the fall.

“There are really three things that are on the table in terms of our planning process. One is really long term and that’s the onsite. Maybe that’s not quite February 2020, but moving in that direction, that certainly is our long range goal,” said Superintendent Stephen Murley.

As Action 2 News first reported Thursday, the school district released a reopening plan that recommends all students start the school year online this fall. The school board will vote whether to approve the plan on Monday during a special meeting.

The first recommendation is for school to begin on September 1, 2020 in a primarily off-site model.

Exceptions will be made for students’ Free and Appropriate Public Education requirements.

The alternate motion is a blended instructional model.

Murley tells us it’s just not feasible to have students back in the classroom this fall with the high level of community spread of the coronavirus (watch our full interview with Murley at the end of this article).

District officials say in order for them to consider having students back in class, community spread of the coronavirus needs to be low -- meaning at or below 5%. Right now, Brown County’s community spread remains high, according to health officials.

The plan is to use gating criteria like the state’s Badger Bounce Back plan and change based on the spread of the virus.

“When we reach that ... gating criteria that says we’re at 5 percent, then we start moving towards a blended model where kids are doing some days [in school] and they’re doing virtual learning other days,” Murley explained.

Action 2 News crunched Brown County’s numbers recorded by the state Department of Health Services and found an average 5.38% of coronavirus tests in the county were positive over the past 7 days.

A community survey put out to district parents in June indicated 66 percent of parents would send their child back to school in person in the fall.

Murley says a lot has changed in six weeks, including parent’s minds.

“That actually spurred us to reach out to parents and say, without even telling you what it looks like, are you willing to commit to being on line for the start of the school year today?” said Murley. “Within the first 24 hours, we had 8 percent of our families signed up to go online without even knowing what it looked like.”

People who want to give their opinions to the school board before Monday’s vote will have the opportunity through a virtual meeting Sunday at 6 p.m. or emailing boardofeducation@gbaps.org.

Click here to learn how to sign up to speak at the listening session.

This article has been updated.

Extended interview with superintendent Stephen Murley

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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