How local school districts are handling in-person learning again

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Most schools have been in session for at least a week now, and Action 2 News looked at how districts are handling COVID-19 now that students returned to in-person learning.

As we reported Wednesday night, Ashwaubenon became the latest local school district to require masks for students through 6th grade.

Multiple districts have mandated masks for all students, or at least for students 11 years old and under, who are not eligible for a vaccine.

“They’re just so happy to start the school year fully in person, and you know we were in person for the second half of last year, but to have that start of the school year this way has been really energizing, I think, for everyone,” said Judy Baseman, Superintendent for Appleton Area School District.

The school districts that have had masking policies in place since the start of the school year say they’re thankful, especially after the holiday weekend.

“Best start in 29 years of public ed. for me. Absolutely fantastic just being out in school, being with the kids, being in the classrooms,” said Stephen Murley, Superintendent of Schools for the Green Bay Area Public School District.

The Green Bay Area Public School District has a universal masking requirement for all students and all adults who are in the building.

The District’s dashboard shows 879 students and 34 staff members out of the classroom under quarantine or isolation as of this evening, and numbers continue to rise.

That’s out of almost 21,000 students in the district. Murley says the active case rate at 0.30% is manageable right now. “I know that the numbers have been going up. Again, if you look at our dashboard, you can see how those numbers have been climbing since the school year started. I was on a call with local heath care providers this morning, and they talked about the fact that they’re seeing that across communities in Northeast Wisconsin, and some of that’s a run out from Labor Day.”

Appleton Area School District also requires masks inside the building for everyone, and Superintendent Baseman says they will have a new dashboard released on Monday for cases and tracking quarantined individuals “to be more accurate and more timely.”

Both school districts have daily screeners for students to help keep them on track and say because students are so excited to be back in-person again they have been cooperative with keeping masks on.

“It’s just so wonderful to have them in school, and now we want to make sure we keep them in school,” said Murley.

Many school districts have said they will review data and COVID-19 numbers after the first month or so, to determine long-term policies on masking.

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