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Green Bay school board to vote on learning plan for fall

Published: Aug. 2, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Area Public School District held a meeting for parents Sunday to talk about a reopening plan. You can view that school year plan here.

The meeting, which was streamed live over YouTube, lasted nearly four hours, with about 80 parents and teachers signed up to speak.

President Vandenheuvel gave opening remarks, and then the open forum for parents and teachers to ask questions or makes statements began.

Regardless of what plan they approved of, everyone who spoke was passionate on their views.

“I think they need to be in the classroom. They are already before this started with technology, losing face-to-face contact which is essential for people to thrive,” said Sarah, a parent and an early childhood educator.

“Please do not ask teachers and students to risk their families lives to solve this problem,” said Jessica, a GBAS elementary teacher. “Please do not cast a vote that ultimately kills some of our students and staff or harms their families.”

Many argued that children’s learning and mental health would suffer too much without any kind of in-person school, some sharing just how much their kids were impacted during virtual learning earlier this year.

“She stopped her art, and no longer enjoyed the things she had a short time prior. It took her a month after school was out to come back. I cannot lose this soul again,” said Stacey, a parent.

Others say the health risks are still too great.

“The environment in which we live today with COVID-19 is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We know so little about it and there is no cure for it,” said another parent Dave.

Many parents pointed out their need to work. Others with children with special needs, whether for or against virtual schooling, expressed the need for their children to somehow have access to services regardless.

“A lot of students are not capable of understanding or following the virtual model and families are not seeing their IEPs being met,” said Becky, parent of a child with special needs. “We didn’t see that last spring.”

Many teachers though were in favor of virtual school, many arguing they are now better prepared to teach through that method.

“I intend to take what I’ve learned from teaching virtually in spring and summer and apply it to a more robust experience for my students in the fall,” said Ned, a teacher and parent.

One parent suggested that, instead of the blended plan which would have students attend school only part of the week, to cut school days in half. Allowing kids to still see teachers every day but in a shorter time period.

Another point many brought up throughout the meeting was the district’s survey in June which showed more than 60 percent of parents are in favor of in person school. However the district previously told Action 2 News that many parent opinions have changed in the last six weeks.

Because of the high volume of callers, the district board chose to not respond to any comments made during the listening session.

A decision wasn’t made Sunday night, however the Board of Education announced last week there will be a special meeting on Monday, August 3 at 5 p.m. to vote on whether the District will begin the upcoming school year in the blended or off-site instructional model.

Click here to watch the listening session in full.

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