Board of Education approves School District of Tomahawk’s 2020-2021 reopening plan
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK –The School District of Tomahawk Board of Education on Tuesday, July 14 approved the district’s 2020-2021 School Reopening Plan, which aims to get students and staff back into classrooms this fall.
A presentation provided by District Administrator Terry Reynolds lays out the district’s goals regarding operations, instructional models, extracurricular activities and more for the upcoming school year, with all aspects revolving around the safety of those on campus as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread locally, statewide and nationally.
“More specific details on procedures and expectations will be provided in the coming weeks,” Reynolds stated.
“Physical spaces,” “healthy environments,” “day to day,” and “transportation” were the key points in the operations section of the presentation.
Physical spaces: The district will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD). Physical barriers, floor adhesives, safety signage, and sanitation stations will be implemented. Students and staff will only be allowed to use water fountains with one-use cups or to refill bottles. The removal of furniture, reconfiguring or moving work spaces, and reconfiguring or moving teaching spaces will allow for more physical distancing.
Healthy environments: The district will increase the circulation of outside air, follow daily and weekly cleaning and disinfecting protocols, limit the use of shared objects and implement sanitation requirements, implement the staggered use of and increased cleaning protocols of communal spaces, teach and reinforce proper hand hygiene with strategic sign placement, adjust student pedestrian patterns and relocate classrooms within buildings to provide distancing.
Day to day: Non-essential visitors and visits will be limited. The district will move elementary classrooms as static groups, limit interaction outside of classrooms, regulate access and directional flow and entrances and exits, reassign staff as needed to cover daily operational needs prioritizing student learning and safety, limit the exposure of high-risk students and staff and provide alternatives, implement frequent and systematic communication, and limit and monitor conditions before final approval for field trips and large school events. The use of face coverings will be determined by CDC, Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and LCHD guidance.
Transportation: The district aims to have 24 students or fewer to each bus, with one student per seat (students from the same household may sit together). Students will be asked to sit at windows to provide six feet of separation from others. High profile seat back barriers between students and assigned seating will be implemented. Buses will be disinfected following each route. IEP driven accommodations in review with a commitment to finding solutions for all families will be put in place to accommodate students with special needs. Parent and/or students planning to self transport are encouraged to contact the Tomahawk Bus Company.
“Traditional classroom learning,” “blended/hybrid learning,” “remote learning,” “special education,” “social and emotional health,” and “moving between models” were highlighted in the Instructional Model section of the presentation. The district may move between its instructional models based on COVID-19 cases within community or building areas.
Traditional classroom learning: Students and staff will practice operational safety procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Staff may be reassigned to support distancing and safety procedures enabling students to enter the classroom. Daily schedule modifications will be made as necessary with start and end of day bell times. SEL foundation will be available for reboarding students and staff. Online options through the Tomahawk Virtual Academy will be provided to students and families not comfortable with returning to campus.
Blended/hybrid learning: This model, available from PK to 12th grade, may be used to reduce the number of students on campus. Cohort A attends class Monday and Wednesday, while Cohort B does assigned learning; Cohort B attends class Tuesday and Thursday, while Cohort A does assigned learning; all students learn at home on Fridays, while staff prepare lessons, provide student support and professional development to Hybrid learning. Students would use district devices. Home internet access becomes vital for all students, the district said.
Remote learning: This model may be targeted or district-wide and may be used for short- or long-term needs as determined by positive COVID-19 cases. Remote learning lessons will take place Monday through Thursday, while Fridays will be used for staff to prepare lessons and provide student professional development to support remote learning for students.
Special education: The first week back will see focus on social and emotional health, with staff focusing on inclusion. Staff or schedules may be redesigned to provide access to individualized learning to meet IEP and 504 plans.
Social and emotional health: The district will reconfigure access to education to adhere to social distancing guidance while meeting the needs of individual students. The district will also “work to introduce students to a new look of school and classrooms before school starts, creating welcoming environments for learning,” along with focusing on staff wellness and communicating Employee Assistance Program options.
Moving between models: Activities and events may be postponed or adjusted to meet guidelines and/or current conditions in the school or the community.
Extra-curricular activities: The district will rely on and implement WIAA guidance to “safely hold athletic practices, competitions and events.” Clubs and activities will take place with social distancing measures in place, “Assuming school is able to resume in traditional classroom learning,” according to the presentation.
Tomahawk Virtual Academy
The Tomahawk Virtual Academy will allow students to “take virtual e-courses using non-district teachers/staff, but remaining School District of Tomahawk Students.” Students must commit to one semester, and cannot switch back and forth, the presentation stated.