Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issues guidance for reopening schools in fall


BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) We are starting to get a feel for what the future may hold for schools this fall. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has released a guidance document to help school districts plan for the future.

This is the document delivered to school districts around the state, titled “Education Forward.” It’s a 90-page plan offering school districts guidance to help develop a safe and efficient return to school for students and staff across the state and here in Northeast Wisconsin.

“It certainly will be a resource for us, as we make sure we consider everything we need to do to reopen our schools in September,” said Ben Villarruel, superintendent of the De Pere School District.

State School Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor says because of the ongoing concerns with COVID-19 “The next school year will likely be different from the learning environment students and teachers have grown accustomed to.”

So DPI has offered school districts multiple suggestions to move forward. Such as incorporating many forms of learning, such as in-person, physically distanced, and virtual. Realize physical distancing may mean smaller class sizes – with students learning in staggered groups.
Also a suggestion for a four-day school week, with a fifth day set aside for deep cleaning of school facilities. Bottom line: remain flexible.

“What we hope to find as we go through the document is to find out if there are places that we missed for consideration, any kind of gaps as we plan forward,” said Green Bay Area Public School Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld.

Langenfeld says meetings to facilitate school reopenings involving all Brown County school district superintendents are underway. And while there is much work yet to do, any final plan will focus on local priorities.

“Everything is on the table, but certainly our priority is to ensure a continuation of learning for children and obviously making sure we have face-to-face learning for kids if at all possible,” Langenfeld said.

The De Pere School District plans to send a survey out to families in mid-July to help flush out concerns they may have entering the fall school year.

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