Tomahawk middle, high schools gearing up for post-spring break return to classrooms
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – School District of Tomahawk middle and high school students will return to classrooms next month after enduring nearly an entire school year impacted the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a plan laid out by District Administrator Terry Reynolds.
Reynolds told the district’s Board of Education during its Tuesday, March 9 meeting that a phased-in return for students in grades 6 through 12 is slated to begin Tuesday, April 6, following the end of spring break. Students will be on campus from Monday through Thursday each week for the entire month of April, with each of the month’s remaining four Fridays being used for remote learning students to complete state testing, which must occur in school. Students with failing grades will also be required to attend school on Fridays for additional support.
A full return to five days of in-person learning per week will occur in May and last through the end of the school year.
Reynolds pointed to the planning involved as a reason for waiting until after spring break to make the change, adding that staff will utilize that time to prepare classrooms for the return of students.
Although the district expects that all students will return to campus, the option to continue with remote learning will be offered. Reynolds described a meeting similar to an interview, where students and families will learn about what the new virtual learning experience would be like, and whether or not it would be the right fit for those considering it.
Classes will be livestreamed, and students who choose to go the virtual route will have to have the technology needed to attend full days of classes online, Reynolds said.
Students who are currently enrolled in the Tomahawk Virtual Academy through the rest of the school year will not be affected by the change.
Reynolds said social distancing “will be at a minimum,” and the district will be “up-front with families, parents and students” about it. The district’s masking requirement will continue to be enforced. Handwashing and “thorough cleanings” are also vital COVID-19 mitigation measures that will be practiced, he noted.
The current plan to return to classrooms is subject to change, but if carried out, Reynolds feels it will positively impact students.
“Educationally, we’ve known this all along: it’s better for students to be here in the building and with their teachers in front of them and doing what’s best for our students,” Reynolds stated, adding that returning classrooms will be “a good thing” for students who are struggling academically, socially and emotionally.