School District to Move to “Hybrid” Learning Starting Oct. 12

From the email sent to families today from Superintendent Jeff Weiss, and found on the district website

I am excited to announce that we will be moving into our next learning phase on Monday, October 12! At that time we will move into hybrid instruction. Generally, this means that your student will be in person two days a week with virtual instruction the other three days per week.

More information will be coming to you from both me and your school in the coming weeks. This will include specific schedules, detailed in person safety expectations, and what will occur if a student or staff member is exposed or tests positive for COVID19.

Schedules

You will be receiving your child’s specific schedule in the next few days. Please note that right now we are working to double check that all family members are attending the in person classes on the same day. Your student’s school will be sending that information to you shortly.

The elementary schedule will include two cohorts of students. One group will attend in person on Monday and Tuesday, the second group will attend in person on Wednesday and Thursday. The hours for in person instruction will be 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. Students will stay with their own classes and receive music, art, and PE instruction virtually in the classroom or outside. Students will have asynchronous learning the other three days per week.

The elementary schools have before and after school care available for the two in person days through the recreation department. Students can be dropped off as early as 7:00 am and will end no later than 5:00 pm. Please contact the recreation department child care at 766-5932 for more information. 

The middle school schedule will also include two cohorts of students attending either Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday. The in person schedule will be 7:30 am – 2:45 pm. On the opposite days that students attend in person, they will be at home following the in person schedule and attending classes live virtually in the teachers’ classrooms. On Friday all middle school students will be learning asynchronously.

As with the elementary and middle school schedules, high school students will also attend in person two days a week either Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday/Thursday. The in person schedule will be 7:30 am – 1:30 pm. Students who are home will be attending the in person schedule virtually via a webcam in classrooms. On Fridays, high school students will attend classes virtually (live) from 7:30 am – noon. 

Timeline and Calendar

We are able to move into hybrid instruction as of Monday, October 12, due to the burden rate in South Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. As of Friday, September 18, the burden rate in South Milwaukee was 77.2 and in Milwaukee County it was 91.28. The positivity rates are 5.1% for South Milwaukee and 5.3% for Milwaukee County. This places the district in the hybrid or potentially in person learning model. We have decided to return to the hybrid model first in order to be sure that our safety and health routines are fully understood by all and we have time to make adjustments as necessary. 

We will continue to monitor the burden and positivity rates for South Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. On October 26 we will announce the next learning model for South Milwaukee. At that time, if possible, we will transition to fully in person for the elementary level as of November 2 and for the middle school and high school as of November 9.

Another update relates to parent teacher conferences. We will be moving the conference dates from October 7 and 8 to a time in November. More details will be sent soon regarding the new dates and times.

I support this decision, and credit the district for its smartly conservative approach to getting kids back to school, including my own.

This summer, district leaders announced a phased reopening plan — developed in partnership with the South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Department — based and science and data, putting student safety first. They have stuck to that plan, and the data now supports the decision to get kids back where we all want them to be (safely): in classrooms.

Of course, the 2020-21 school year is just getting started, this pandemic is far from over, and more flexibility and adaptability will be needed in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Thank you to the kids, parents, teachers and staff who have stepped up during these challenging and unprecedented times.

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