GBAPSB makes little progress in getting kids back in school

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 12:04 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As some school districts across Brown County returned to some form of in person learning on Monday, the Green Bay Area Public School Board made little progress on getting students back in the classroom.

According to the latest school district survey, 60 percent of families who responded are in favor of a hybrid model of learning for students.

The board did support a motion that would allow students in grades 6-12 to go back to school at least one day a week when the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county drops to 250 per 100,000 over a two week period.

That modification does not get kids back into the classroom just yet and what that learning model would look like for each grade has yet to be determined.

Superintendent Stephen Murley said prior to the board passing the motion, the district needs to look at the plan for each building as the number of families who chose virtual learning vs in person differs between schools.

“We’ve outlined broad expectations whether that’s looking at mitigation strategies; what’s your process for use of the restroom, hand washing, what’s your process for hand sanitizing, where are you located classroom to building, what kind of physical distancing can you create both in classrooms and common spaces and passing times, how do you arrange your schedule to minimize the number of students in the hallway at any given time?” said Murley.

The board also weighed adjusting the gating criteria versus setting a date to bring all students back to the classroom.

Some board members were uncomfortable setting a date when data is fluid, especially with several school districts returning to in person learning.

“As I sit here today, I’m willing to watch and wait and see what happens for a week or two. Have they been successful or in three weeks are they going to shut down again?” said Board President, Eric Vanden Heuvel. “If they function, then I’d gladly follow and maybe I’m three weeks later than some of the other districts, but then at least I know that.”

Board Member Rhonda Sitnikau offered another measure to try to get the districts’ youngest learners back to school full time.

Instead, the board discussed allowing students in head start through second grade back to school in a blended learning model when Brown County’s positive case rate drops to 350 positive cases per 100,000 over a two week period.

The board will take up that measure during a special meeting on January 25 to give members and the district time to do research.

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