BELOIT — Beloit School District teachers’ children enrolled in the district in grades kindergarten through six are allowed to be in the classrooms with them effective Feb. 22 to give staff flexibility, according to an email obtained by the Daily News.
The email was sent on Feb. 3 by Beloit School District human resources to all district staff.
Before returning to in-person instruction, possibly in term 4, the email stated the district is providing flexibility to staff members with school-aged children who attend the Beloit School District, allowing staff to bring the children to work with them, the email stated.
The district expects the children must stay with the staff member at all times while in the building. Staff members must include the children’s names on the health screener and ensure building administration is aware of their children in the building. The safety protocols for staff will apply to any staff children on site, the email stated.
The email provided to the Daily News arrived on Monday, a day before the board is poised to vote on whether to return to a hybrid model of in-person learning for term 4 in early April. In July, the school board voted to have virtual/distance learning for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, later extended to Jan. 22.
Board President Megan Miller said the issue of allowing staff to bring their children to school had not been formally brought before the board so she declined comment on it. Board member Amiee Leavy said she was not comfortable commenting on the situation since she hadn’t received direct information about it.
When Superintendent Dan Keyser was called and asked why children in the district are not allowed to attend in-person learning while teachers’ children are and his rationale behind the benefit, he responded in an email with several statements on the topic.
Keyser said the accommodation is available until March 31 and only includes children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Staff’s children are participating in distance learning with their assigned teachers, he said, and there is no in-person instruction for these children.
“Many of our teachers have been teaching from home, and we have now asked that they all return to teaching in the classroom beginning on Monday, March 1,” he said.
Keyser said school district policy 532.3 and 542.3 state that if schools are closed, employees are not allowed to bring their children to work.
“Our schools are not closed; our method of instruction is distance learning. We also have small groups of students attending in-person learning at this time,” he said.
Keyser issued several statements in support of the benefit.
“This year, many local districts offered this small resource to their teachers from Thanksgiving through winter break while in distance learning. We really appreciated how considerate they were of their staff’s needs during this difficult time.
“The School District of Beloit and the Board of Education respect and admire the dedication, compassion, and passion of our teachers and support staff. As the last several months have shown, our teachers are resilient, creative, and strong. They are committed to engaging our students in learning while caring for their social and emotional well being.
“This is one of many resources that we have made available to our staff during this unprecedented time. In reaching out to our teaching staff, this was one small resource they felt would help them. We valued our staff’s input and believed that this small accommodation was not a huge ask on their part.
“Our teachers have made a difference in the lives of our students and families through their ability to continue to teach and care for students, despite the many challenges this pandemic has brought with it. We want them to know that we are grateful and thankful and truly appreciate how hard they work for our District and students. This resource was one small way to do that.”