Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 8:48 pm 

The District learned late on Monday afternoon that Public Health Madison Dane County has revised its guidance to area school districts. The School Board has decided to hold a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 21, and administration will be bringing forward a plan and timeline for bringing all MCPASD students back into school buildings.

Once the School Board has approved a revised model and plan for returning students to buildings we will communicate with PK-12th grade families. The District anticipates the communication will come out Tuesday, Dec. 22, and that families will need to complete a new Instructional Model Model Change form.

Administration will be recommending a 2-1-2 blended model for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Please note that the half-day model that the School Board originally approved for 4K and elementary schools will not be implemented.

The District will include more information about the model options next week. The District will also send out more details about the timeline for students returning to school buildings after the School Board meeting on Dec. 21.

The District is planning for 4K to return in a half-day model with students attending Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The morning cohort would tentatively attend from 8:50 to 11:26 a.m., while the afternoon cohort would tentatively attend from 12:24 to 3 p.m. Exact times may shift slightly due to transportation department needs.

Director of Communications Perry Hibner emphasized few important points:

  • The new PHMDC guidance and recommendations are grounded in emerging science and evidence about COVID-19 in schools. PHMDC tracks school data not only in Dane County but across the state and used that evidence to inform their newest guidance.
  • Most public schools in Wisconsin have been in session, mostly full-days and full-time, since September.
  • We have been and will continue to adhere to PHMDC guidance and recommendations. They are the local health experts.

PHMDC’s new guidance for schools includes the following recommendations:

1.  To reopen schools using a phased approach, starting with elementary-aged students. Districts are also encouraged to provide families an all-virtual option.

2.  Implement risk mitigation strategies in schools, which MCPASD already does.

3.  Have a plan for contact tracing, which MCPASD is already doing.

4.  Develop a plan to move to virtual instruction if PHMDC changes its guidance. MCPASD is prepared to pivot to all-virtual if necessary.

5.  Implement a wide-spread testing program if one becomes available.  MCPASD isn’t aware of any testing program in Dane County but we will investigate further.