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Manitowoc Public School District moves to full distance learning

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School district goes fully virtual as of today after recent spike in Covid-19 cases across the state

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – The school year will be looking a little different for students in Manitowoc this semester.

Due to the rising spread of Covid-19 in Northeastern Wisconsin, all Manitowoc Public Schools will move to full distance learning as of this morning. After starting the school year here in the classroom, students and teachers will be going all virtual as of this morning. Students met with their teachers last week ahead of the move to full distance learning.

Working with county and state health officials, MPSD created a learning model decision matrix to guide when the district can safely bring students and staff back into schools for in-person, face-to-face learning. The MPSD board of education approved the decision matrix at a meeting Friday.

“We have worked hard over the past three or four days to try and come up with a learning model that will be improved,” says Mark Holzman, Superintendent of Manitowoc Public Schools District. “We have learned a lot of things about virtual learning and distance learning in the spring and now we have a better handle on what kind of supports we can provide for our students and just information so that we can do this better.”

Manitowoc Public Schools started the school year on September 1 with a blended learning model that allowed 4k-12 students to attend school in-person some days and learn from home other days. The number of in-person days varied for elementary, middle and high school students, based on the district’s ability to safely social distance in different school buildings. While the school district’s safety mitigation plan has worked well in its schools which have not seen any major outbreaks, community spread of Covid-19 has significantly increased throughout Manitowoc County and across Northeastern Wisconsin.

“Those students who have a virtual learning teacher will continue with that teacher and they will continue with the schedule,” said Holzman. “We have it very similar to what they were doing, based on a couple of tweaks. I think we’ve taken that feedback that we had from those folks who were working- we had over 1,000 students who were 100% virtual- so we did have an opportunity to listen and learn from that standpoint.”

MPSD will monitor the Manitowoc County burden rate, which is the total number of positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a rolling two-week period. According to the state department of health website, on September 1 — Manitowoc County was averaging 100 positive cases per week. The past seven days have seen an excess of 275 positive cases. Manitowoc County’s burden rate is now at 554.

Those 1,000 students who already signed up for virtual learning out of the more than 5,000 student body district-wide will continue to do so.

You can find a link to the full learning model matrix being followed by the school district online right here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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