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DPI to release guidelines for fall instruction on Monday
Reopening schools

DPI to release guidelines for fall instruction on Monday

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RACINE COUNTY — Racine County public schools, while making tentative plans for this fall, are awaiting guidelines to be released Monday by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health.

“The focus of this guidance is to provide considerations for district and school leaders to plan and implement a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school,” Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson told school administrators in a communication from the DPI sent June 12.

Even though the DPI “expects schools to reopen in the fall,” Thompson advised that some students will likely need continued access to remote learning options, even if most students return to in-person lessons.

Multiple options

Burlington Area School District Superintendent Steven Plank, Waterford Graded School District Superintendent Ed Brzinski and Waterford High School Superintendent Lucas Francois all said that while their respective districts are currently planning, nothing is official. Union Grove High School District Superintendent Al Mollerskov said he does not anticipate concrete plans for his district until mid-July.

All three superintendents mentioned planning for fully resuming face-to-face instruction, a hybrid model that could include a mixture of virtual learning or schedule switching and a completely virtual model of learning for this next school year.

Racine Unified School District also has discussed those three options.

“What educational programming will look like exactly, we’re not sure yet, but we’re planning for everywhere between full face to face with students and a virtual environment,” Brzinski said.

After ending the 2019-2020 school year in a rush to switch to a virtual education model, Brzinkski said his district is planning to avoid more “crisis planning” and that this fall would be a “different environment.”

While saying that the physical safety of students and staff is a priority, Plank noted that educators miss their kids being in the classroom and said BASD staff contends that there is no substitute for face to face instruction. BASD put together a survey to send out to families in hopes of gauging the view of how the school year concluded as well as their readiness for “what might come in fall.”

“We definitely believe there’s no substitute for face-to-face and in-person learning and that of course is our foremost desire to get back to that,” Plank said. “We believe pretty wholeheartedly that that’s what our families also want and, on some level need, in terms of their own ability to get back to work and manage their families.”

“We definitely believe there’s no substitute for face-to-face and in-person learning and that of course is our foremost desire to get back to that. We believe pretty wholeheartedly that’s what our families also want and, on some level, need.” Stephen Plank, Burlington Area School District superintendent

Caitlin Sievers contributed to this report.

“We definitely believe there’s no substitute for face-to-face and in-person learning and that of course is our foremost desire to get back to that. We believe pretty wholeheartedly that’s what our families also want and, on some level, need."

Stephen Plank, Burlington Area School District superintendent

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Reporter

Caitlin Sievers covers education in Racine County with a primary focus on Racine Unified School District. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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