BELOIT — The Beloit School District voted unanimously Monday to approve the reopening plan and shift instruction to an in-person cohort model beginning April 8 as long as the district hasn’t reached a high transmission threshold.
Under the current proposed reopening model, students would be split into a group A coming to school in the first half of week, with Wednesday remaining a professional development day, and group B coming in the second half of the week. Kids remaining in distance learning could participate in classroom instruction from home. The model would include kids moving from class to class, said Superintendent Dan Keyser in his presentation.
The plan is to remain in the hybrid model until the end of the school year, Keyser said.
At school, all staff and students will be required to wear masks, except at meal time and nap time. Students will be assigned an entrance door and will be escorted into the building by staff, and student IDs will be scanned upon entering designated doors.
In addition to social distancing and masks in classrooms, there will be three-sided plexiglass at tables, hand sanitizer and approved hand wipes.
In the hallways, common areas and restrooms, student movement will be limited. Common areas will be cleaned during the day and evening. There will be social distancing and plexiglass for breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria while some students will have meals delivered to their classrooms. Grab and Go meal service will include a seven-day food pack available for pick-up and delivery every Wednesday.
A COVID-19 dashboard will be available to view on the homepage of every website in the district. It will let people know the total COVID-19 cases by school and within the district beginning on April 1.
Starting today, March 2, there will be a Skyward online sign-up for cohort or distance learning made available to families and a guide sent to families. Wednesday, March 10 is the due date for a response from families on their preferred mode of schooling.
From March 10 through March 12 there will be follow-up at the school-level to confirm family choice and on March 24 and March 25 there will be family webinar updates.
Vice President John Wong asked how the district will ensure all are wearing masks. Keyser said the district has adult and youth sized masks. If students are willfully refusing to wear masks, they would have to move to distance-only learning.
President Megan Miller asked if elementary kids would be able to fulfill their social and emotional needs. Keyser said any toy or item would be wiped down before it was shared with another child.
Board member Stephanie Jacobs asked if there is the possibility of bringing kids back safety full-time for summer school, Keyser said the district is looking at that possibility.
A petition had been presented to the board with 221 online signatures, and 99 signatures on paper in favor of reopening schools prior to the meeting, Miller said in an interview prior to the meeting.