Board of Education: Green Bay Area Public Schools to start school year online

Monday night, the board voted 5 - 2 in favor of the virtual model.
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 8:26 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Board of Education has voted in favor of starting the 2020 - 2021 school year fully online in the Green Bay Area Public School District.

On Monday night, the Board voted 5 - 2 in favor of the online model.

During Monday’s meeting, the Board discussed whether or not to start the year with an off-site instructional model or a blended model.

The vote comes one day after the School District held a special meeting for parents on Sunday to discuss a reopening plan.

“When I think about the upcoming school year I think about my son and my daughter who are going into kindergarten and the first grade, and I feel angry, I feel confused, I feel frustrated, isolated, helpless, sad just like many of the parents who emailed us,” said Eric Vanden Heuvel, board president.

One of the points brought up during Sunday’s meeting was the district’s survey in June, which showed more than 60% 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.

Board members had a discussion and asked questions of the new Superintendent Stephen Murley about the options on the table.

Murley outlined the challenges of social distancing in the classroom and on a bus through a short video of a walk through at Chappell Elementary School earlier on Monday.

“This is a classroom that shows how we would align the desks. One of the things we’ve done is we worked to pull out all the soft areas, there’s not rugs there’s not soft seating areas, of course that means some of our mindfulness areas are no longer present in those rooms,” said Murley.

Multiple other areas of concern were discussed from making sure students and parents have access to online materials and how attendance will be taken.

In order for the district to move to a hybrid model of learning or back to in-person classes, Brown County needs to show a steady decrease in the number of positive tests of 5 percent or less over a 14 day period.

The numbers will be evaluated weekly by the administration and the board.

Board members will have a say in how and when the school district transitions to either a hybrid model or back to in-person classes.

“There is no answer on the table that is what’s best’s for kids and families. This is a failure of the system from the highest level,” said Board Vice President, Kristina Shelton.

Exceptions will be made for students with special needs.

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