August Community Spirit Article

Mike Richie, TRSD District Administrator 

August Spirit Article 

The TRSD Board of Education approved the District’s reopening plan at the July 20, 2020, school board meeting. The plan lays out four delivery methods pending the COVID-19 risk level:

  • Traditional face-to-face instruction 5 days per week
  • Adapted face-to-face instruction 2 to 4 days per week 
  • Blended instruction
  • Virtual instruction 

We will transition between options as needed with a preference for traditional face-to-face classroom learning. 

The plan as of the writing of this article on July 21 is to start the school year on September 1, 2020, using the adapted face-to-face instruction for grades kindergarten through grade 8 (option 2 above). Students in grades K-8 will attend school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Pre-kindergarten students will attend school on Monday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday. Wednesday will be used for learning at home for grades K-8, staff development, and prep time. This will also give our custodians an opportunity for more thorough cleaning throughout the school building. 

Students will stay within their classroom as much as possible. During recess and lunch, students will remain in cohort groups and be assigned to designated areas. 

Our plan will look a little different at the high school level. For the first two weeks of school, high school students will be split in two groups: freshman/sophomores in one group, and juniors/seniors in the second group. Freshman/sophomores will attend school on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, and juniors/seniors will attend school on Thursday/Friday. For the first two weeks of school, high school students will have two days per week of face-to face instruction and two days per week of virtual learning due to Labor Day. Beginning on September 14, all high school students will have face-to-face instruction four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday’s will be a virtual learning day.

Keep in mind that the delivery method of instruction can change at any time and we may be forced to implement a different method of instruction based on the COVID-19 risk. More information and questions/answers have been posted on the district website at www.amherst.k12.wi.us.

Virtual instruction/learning will be made available for families who do not feel comfortable sending their child to school at the start of the school year. Also, we will follow WIAA, conference, and safety guidelines and procedures for athletics. 

Regarding transportation, busses will be cleaned and disinfected each day, and drivers and students will wear face coverings on the bus. When possible, we encourage families to transport their children to and from school.

We will have a number of safety procedures in place throughout the school day. Here are a few of our safety procedures: 

  • All staff will wear face coverings or face shields during the school day. 
  • Students will wear a face covering for at least the first three weeks of school and social distancing will be practiced when possible. 
  • Physical education classes will take place outdoors when weather permits
  • Large tents will be used for additional outdoor learning space. 
  • The number of adults and volunteers in the building will be limited and any adult or visitor in the building must be in a face covering. 
  • We will reinforce hygiene protocols, an isolation room will be used for sick individuals
  • Field trips will be limited and must meet criteria for safety and social distancing. 
  • Bottle filling stations will only be used at water fountains
  • Student locker usage will be limited for high school and middle school students and safety signage will be posted. 
  • Some furniture from classrooms will be removed. 
  • Student entrances and exits will be adjusted and directional flow will be used in the hallways. 
  • Daily schedules will be modified (lunch/recess), and staggered use for communal space will be implemented.

School cleaning procedures will be expanded. The entire school will be cleaned on a daily basis following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily per the SOP. All surfaces will be cleaned utilizing a neutral cleaner prior to disinfecting, and there will be an emphasis on high-touch areas. Playground equipment will be cleaned at the end of each day, cleaning protocols will be established for all schools/rooms, and sanitizer stations will be placed in all restrooms and most classrooms.

Here are a few reminders for family responsibilities:

  • Please do not send your child to school if they are sick or showing any symptoms of COVID-19
  • A health and safety checklist will be sent home to all families prior to the start of the school year. Please screen children prior to sending them to school each day. 
  • Create an emergency plan. 
  • Where will your children go if their classroom/school shuts down?
  • Put together a list of emergency contacts for pick-ups
  • Plan for coverage for students who must stay home if they are sick in any way

Please refer to the district website for more detailed information. You may also contact me or the building principals if you have any questions regarding our school reopening plan.