By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Whitewater Unified School District officials will be spending the warm-weathered months exploring a number of different options for classroom instruction this fall in response to COVID-19 precautions.

Several of the district’s top staffers discussed with the School Board some of the possible options that could be ahead when the 2020-21 school year gets underway.

A continuation of the fully virtual method is an option, as is the traditional face-to-face instruction. Also in the mix is some form of a blended model. Another question is whether precautions, such as face coverings, could be suggested or required.

Jim Shaw, district administrator, and Kelly Seichter, director of curriculum and instruction, said the goal is to have a decision in place by Aug. 1 and communicate the specifics to parents and faculty members.

“I think it would be wonderful to have all our kids come back,” Shaw said at a School Board meeting May 26. “But I think it would be imprudent to just assume it’s going to happen in the fall.”

Shaw said the goal is to give students who benefit most from face-to-face instruction the opportunity to receive it. Special education students and young elementary-aged children are considered the greatest benefactors of the traditional model.

In-between the two spectrums of 100-percent virtual learning and 100-percent classroom instruction are a number of possibilities in the middle. Physical classroom instruction every other day was discussed as one option.

“It’s important for us to start thinking more about what the possibilities will be or the fall,” Shaw said. “It might not be school as usual.”

As the summer progresses, Seichter said input from outside Whitewater will play an important part in determining the district’s plans.

“Guidance from DPI (state Department of Public Instruction) is going to be very important,” Seichter said. “That’s the best we can do without a crystal ball.”

 
 

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