MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) - Governor Tony Evers has extended Wisconsin’s Safer At Home order, and closed schools for the rest of the academic year.
Both public and private school students won’t be physically going back to class until at least Fall 2020. Now school districts all over the state are figuring out what’s next.
In many communities, graduation was already canceled, and prom was too. Some districts were prepared to stay home the rest of the school year. Others were still holding out hope that students would head back to class before summertime.
At the Madison Metropolitan School District, officials were planning for the possibility of not coming back this school year. They launched their virtual learning program about three weeks after the initial closure news on March 13. That program will continue for the rest of the academic year.
Although we appreciate and support the Governor’s decision, as it is in the best interest of our students, families and staff, it is also very sad news for our School Community as we realize those important personal connections between students, staff and families, that we value so much, have been officially cut short,” MMSD interim superintendent Jane Belmore said in a statement. “As a result of this crisis, the class of 19/20 has had to sacrifice a lot, and their resiliency and focus is something I will always appreciate and never forget. We will continue to support the entire MMSD family to the best of our ability.”
In Beloit, administrators were planning for just about anything. “I think we had to plan so many options, not knowing exactly what would happen in Wisconsin with the happen of recognized cases, and how long things would be safer at home,” said interim superintendent Sue Green. “So we had plan A, B, C, D, ready to go.”
Beloit also has a virtual learning curriculum Green is confident will get students through the rest of the year. "As disappointed as we were hearing that we would not be returning this year, we have a good program in place that will get us through the end of the school year,” Green said.
Distance learning looks different depending on where you are in the state. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports some students still don’t have any form of virtual learning available.
The distance learning situation is fluid, and it seems like for now, how to proceed may be up to each individual district. Most districts have been in contact with the Department of Public Instruction to make curriculum decisions during the closures.