Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 9:48 am

The Board of Education unanimously approved on Monday, March 15 having elementary students in the Universal instructional model return to school buildings four days a week.

Elementary students in the Universal instructional model will begin attending school four days a week starting Monday, April 19. The deciision doesn't impact 4K students, who have already been attending half-days for four days per week -- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday -- since Feb. 1. This model will continue. 

Elementary students will attend school buildings on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The hours they currently attend will not change. Students will continue to access asynchronous instruction virtually on Wednesdays for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Students must remain in the instructional model their family selected in December. Additional model changes would likely result in teachers switching models, which means some students would have to transition to a new teacher again. We don’t think that is beneficial to staff, students, or families.

Individual schools will be allowed to provide accommodations for Universal families in unique circumstances. In those cases where an accommodation is made, concurrent teaching strategies will be used. Interested families should reach out to their school principal to discuss.

Schools will continue to maintain some physical distancing, just as students and staff are doing now in the blended model. 

As health experts learn more about the virus, recommendations and guidelines continue to evolve. A recent Massachusetts Study looked at 3 feet versus 6 feet of physical distancing in 251 schools and noted there was negligible difference in the number of positive cases. There is a link to the full manuscript on the webpage.  

Students and staff will also continue to wear masks, use proper hand hygiene and we will also follow Public Health Madison Dane County’s contract tracing protocols.

Lunch will vary from school-to-school and grade-to-grade depending on class size, the physical size of each classroom and other building factors. Students will eat in classrooms when possible. Some classes or students may eat in the cafeteria. Some schools also have extra classrooms available and may be able to split classes into two rooms for lunch.  

The strategies the District and schools employ at lunch to mitigate spread are distance, quiet (activities that encourage quiet time during lunch), forward-facing/facing one direction, and cohorting.

Schools will provide more information to families closer to April 19. 

Finally, the District will be sending out a revised online transportation form to families whose children are in 4K and elementary school in the Universal model this week. Families whose children are eligible but aren’t currently using District transportation may sign up to do so. Families whose children are currently riding District buses will also have the opportunity to drive their children to school.

If you decline transportation now, you can request it later. Please note it usually takes up to five days after a request is made before a student can start riding the bus.