Reopening Plan 2020-21 Frequently Asked Questions

Medical

Is the Wauwatosa Health Department aligned with the District’s Reopening Plan?

How do I know if my child needs to stay home from school?

Who will be responsible for assessing students’ symptoms at school?

My child has seasonal allergies. Will allergy symptoms require them to stay home?

Where can students and staff get tested for COVID-19? Who will pay for testing?

How long will students or staff need to stay home if they’re sick?

How will I know if my child or I have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

How is WSD handling out-of-District exposures?

Teaching + Learning

What options do I have for my child's learning this year?

What is the difference between synchronous learning and asynchronous learning?

What is concurrent learning?

If a class is quarantined, will staff and students be able to learn/teach virtually?

If I homeschool my child, will they lose their spot at Montessori, STEM or other school?

Can I send my JK student to school part time?

Which options are available for before- and after-school care and JK wrap care?

Will/How will our relationship with Elmbrook and the LAUNCH program impact our plan?

Phase Into Learning

What phase are we operating in currently?

When will students in middle and high school students begin the five-day phase?

How will the District communicate with families about extended school closure or a change in model of instruction?

Virtual Learning: Tosa Connected + WVA

What will the Tosa Connected week look like?

What other information is available about Tosa Connected?

What do Wauwatosa Virtual Academy courses look like at each grade level?

Are students offered technology to facilitate virtual learning?

Can students with IEPs or disabilities participate in Wauwatosa Virtual Academy?

Special Education

How will the District assess the need for additional services for students with disabilities?

What are we doing to promote safety for students with sensory issues?

Will students who receive one-on-one help per their IEP be able to receive the same level of support while maintaining social distancing?

Activities + Athletics

What extracurricular activities and/or specials will be allowed?

Buildings + Grounds

How will students and staff maintain 6 feet of space when learning in-person?

How will the District address air circulation in buildings?

How will the District clean and sanitize buildings?

How will COVID-19 impact construction efforts?

Will students and staff have access to communal spaces?

Health + Safety

What mental health resources are available for students, families and staff?

Will students and staff be required to wear masks?

How is the District supporting mask-wearing for students and staff who are deaf or hard of hearing?

What does my child need to do to qualify for a mask exemption?

Will students get mask breaks?

If students remove their masks at lunch, doesn’t that negate the effectiveness of the mask wearing?

What is the District doing to build a culture of safety in our schools?

Will families be required to provide test results or a letter of clearance to return to school?

Will the District place a travel ban on staff or students?

Human Resources

If a staff member becomes sick with a non-COVID-19 illness, will they need to use sick days?

Will health insurance premiums increase for staff?

How is the District addressing substitute teachers?

Other

How is the District addressing equity issues related to COVID-19?

What proactive steps is the District taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community? What education and advocacy is taking place?

Medical 

Is the Wauwatosa Health Department aligned with the District’s Reopening Plan?

We have collaborated extensively with the Wauwatosa Health Department in our planning process. Recommendations outlined in our Reopening Plan follow the guidance and recommendations provided by the Health Department.

How do I know if my child needs to stay home from school?         

Please use this illness checker for clarification on when individuals need to stay home and when they can return.

Who will be responsible for assessing students’ symptoms at school?         

Building staff will follow this flowchart to determine when a child needs to be sent home. If building staff have questions, they will contact one of our school nurses. This is the same practice we have followed every school year.

My child has seasonal allergies. Will allergy symptoms require them to stay home?

We ask parents to work with their child's primary care provider to develop a treatment plan that eliminates or minimizes these symptoms. If symptoms cannot be eliminated or minimized, school nurses are prepared to develop an individualized plan for students with a history of documented chronic conditions.

Where can students and staff get tested for COVID-19? Who will pay for testing?

You may contact your primary care physician for this information or visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website. We have also developed local partnerships that allow us to provide rapid turnaround testing to staff members.

How long will students or staff need to stay home if they’re sick?

Current DHS, DPI and CDC guidelines state: anyone showing signs of illness must stay home for 10 days from when the symptoms started AND must have at least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND all other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks and need not delay the end of isolation.

How will I know if my child or I have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

If an exposure occurred during District-sponsored programming, you will receive an email from our District Nursing Team. If the exposure happened outside of District programming, you may hear from your local Health Department.

How is WSD handling out-of-District exposures?

Your local Health Department may provide guidance on any exposures that happen outside of the District. If a family member must quarantine, the rest of the household may continue to attend District programming. If the family member develops symptoms and tests positive, the entire family must stay home during the family member's illness, plus an additional 10 days past the family member's well date to make sure they did not contract COVID-19.

Teaching + Learning

What options do I have for my child's learning this year?         

Prior to each trimester/semester, families were/will be given the choice between Phase Into Learning, Tosa Connected and Wauwatosa Virtual Academy. Additional information about these options can be found in our Resource Library.

What is the difference between synchronous learning and asynchronous learning?

Synchronous learning occurs live and with all students at the same time.  Asynchronous learning occurs independently through the support of the learning management system Canvas and the use of tech tools.

What is concurrent learning?

Please see this document for a detailed explanation of concurrent learning.

If a class is quarantined, will staff and students be able to learn/teach virtually?  

Learning opportunities will be provided for students in quarantine using Canvas. Specifics will be provided by your building principal or by your student’s teacher(s).

If I homeschool my child, will they lose their spot at Montessori, STEM or other school?

By choosing to homeschool, you are withdrawing from the Wauwatosa School District. Families with seats in our lottery programs of WSTEM, USTEM, Montessori and MSTEM who choose to homeschool for 2020-21 will lose their lottery seat. Families with seats in the lottery programs who select either Tosa Connected or Wauwatosa Virtual Academy will maintain their seat for the 2020-21 school year.

Can I send my JK student to school part time?

Students are expected to attend as outlined in the framework.

Which options are available for before- and after-school care and JK wrap care?        

Right At School has been included in our pandemic planning. They are prepared to continue to offer programming that meets the guidelines established by WSD, and registration will be open soon! Please continue to check the Right at School website for more information.

Will/How will our relationship with Elmbrook and the LAUNCH program impact our plan?

We are continuing to partner with Elmbrook to ensure that our LAUNCH students enrolled in Phase Into Learning, Tosa Connected or WVA have the opportunities to participate.

Phase Into Learning

What phase are we operating in currently?

Our elementary students (and 6th grade Montessori students) are operating in the five-day phase. Students in middle and high school are engaging in hybrid learning, attending classes in-person two days per week and learning independently three days per week.

When will students in middle and high school students begin the five-day phase?

Middle and high school students will begin the five-day phase on Monday, April 5, 2021. Additional information about the School Board’s decision to begin the five-day phase on this date can be found here.

How will the District communicate with families about extended school closure or a change in model of instruction?

We will deliver closure information by email, web updates and text messages. We intend to provide families with as much advance notice as possible regarding school closures or changes to the model of instruction.

Virtual Learning: Tosa Connected + WVA

What will the Tosa Connected week look like?

In the hybrid phase, students participate in two days of synchronous (live) lessons and three days of asynchronous (pre-recorded, independent practice) learning.

In a five-day phase, Junior Kindergarten students will participate in mostly asynchronous learning, with two 15-20 minute synchronous learning sessions scheduled each week. Senior Kindergarten through second grade students will follow a full virtual schedule, learning synchronously on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a makeup day. Students from multiple buildings may be grouped together in the same virtual classroom. Third through fifth grade students will return to their home school and will be taught concurrently five days per week by building-specific grade level teachers. Synchronous instruction ends at 2:20 pm on Wednesdays.

What other information is available about Tosa Connected?

Please click here for a full FAQ specific to Tosa Connected!

What do Wauwatosa Virtual Academy courses look like at each grade level?

WVA course descriptions can be found here.

Are students offered technology to facilitate virtual learning?        

All students will have the opportunity to use a District-issued Chromebook to engage in virtual learning.

Can students with IEPs or disabilities participate in Wauwatosa Virtual Academy?

When a student with a disability expresses an interest in WVA an IEP team meets to review the current IEP and disability related needs.  If needed, the IEP team will review and revise the IEP to include supports and services for the student to access the WVA curriculum. Please contact Dean Heus with additional questions.

Special Education 

How will the District assess the need for additional services for students with disabilities?

The District will follow guidance from the Department of Public Instruction bulletin 20.01 to determine if there is a need for additional services.

What are we doing to promote safety for students with sensory issues?

Each student and situation will be looked at individually and a plan will be created with a district nurse and the child's special education team or classroom teacher. We will provide our staff with the recommended PPE based on current guidelines - including, but not limited to face shields, masks, etc. - and we will evaluate modifying the environment in a way that maximizes safety.

Will students who receive one-on-one help per their IEP be able to receive the same level of support while maintaining social distancing?        

Students will receive the special education support and services outlined in their IEP. In situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, staff will be trained on necessary precautions and provided with equipment/PPE to deliver services.

Activities + Athletics 

What extracurricular activities and/or specials will be allowed?

The District will provide opportunities for students to safely participate in sports and other extracurricular activities if and when it is safe and possible to do so. It is our goal to offer all sports, and we will follow WIAA guidelines for season start dates. Traveling will be evaluated with each club based on its destination and transportation needs.

Buildings + Grounds

How will students and staff maintain 6 feet of space when learning in-person?

We have implemented a layered mitigation strategy that combines mask-wearing, handwashing, increased air exchange, efficient contact tracing and protocols that limit visitors and in-person meetings.

How will the District address air circulation in buildings?

Our buildings are balanced environments, meaning the HVAC equipment in each building works to balance the amount and quality of air flow. Each year, we install new air filters, and this year, we installed new HEPA filters to further maximize air quality and safety. We leave the room vents open 100% of the time to maximize fresh air flow. We have also installed bipolar ionization in our mechanical systems which helps destroy the COVID-19 virus. We use portable UV light systems in specific areas like the health room or in rooms where a positive case occurs.

How will the District clean and sanitize buildings?

Buildings will follow the guidelines outlined in the Reopening Framework. Specifics will be determined by each building principal. In the hybrid phase, a deep cleaning will be conducted in each building every Wednesday.

How will COVID-19 impact construction efforts?

Construction continues to move ahead on or ahead of schedule. We do not anticipate that construction will negatively impact any of the cleaning, sanitization or safety procedures in place at our buildings.

Will students and staff have access to communal spaces?

Limited access will be allowed. Social distancing to the extent possible will be maintained with guidance from signage installed throughout the space.

Health + Safety

What mental health resources are available for students, families and staff?

We encourage all students, families and staff to review the mental health resources in our Resource Library. The library contains valuable documents and suggestions for talking to your student(s) about COVID-19, social distancing, mask wearing and more.  

For students and families: An emphasis will be placed K-12 to explicitly support and build social and emotional learning (SEL) so that all students are able to effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  In addition, to promote healthy homes, minds and families, the Wauwatosa School District is proud to offer the Student and Family Assistance Program (SFAP) through Aurora Healthcare at no charge to all Wauwatosa School District students and families residing in the same household. This program provides students and families up to six goal-focused confidential professional counseling, consultation, or intervention sessions per family member, per issue to address personal, family or environmental factors that impact academic performance or personal well being. To use SFAP services, please call Aurora Student & Family Assistance Program at 800-236-3231.

For staff: The Wauwatosa School District is proud to provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in partnership with Aurora. This program provides staff with six (6) free sessions per issue, which can be conducted via teletherapy or on-site. We also will continue to provide additional opportunities to hear and access advice and perspectives from experts to support self-care and mental health. And within each building, we offer smaller cohorts to support ongoing, consistent check-ins.  

Will students and staff be required to wear masks?

Masks are currently required in all District buildings. The District will provide options for our staff including face masks, face shields and other PPE. If a student does not have a mask, the District will provide one for them. A face shield is not a substitute for a mask. Masks must be worn at all times when indoors or when outside and unable to physically distance.

How is the District supporting mask-wearing for students and staff who are deaf or hard of hearing?

We have ordered masks with clear windows and face shields.  We will work with our Deaf and Hard of Hearing teachers to ensure that each child who is deaf or hard of hearing has an inclusive environment.

What does my child need to do to qualify for a mask exemption?

If your child has an existing 504 or IEP, their team will meet to evaluate the “no mask” request on a case-by-case basis. However, if your child does not have an IEP in place, they will need to be evaluated by the nurse and principal. To begin, the parent must complete the Request for Face Covering Accommodation form. While your child is going through the evaluation process, they will have the option to wear a mask and continue to attend in person, or they can stay home and the teacher will provide homework until a decision regarding mask usage is made.

Will students get mask breaks?

Yes. Any space that can be supervised by an adult and is six feet away from others is appropriate for a mask break.

If students remove their masks at lunch, doesn’t that negate the effectiveness of the mask wearing?

The effectiveness of mask wearing is not all or none. Taking masks off to eat does not eliminate the benefit the masks provide during the rest of the school day.  

What is the District doing to build a culture of safety in our schools?

We are consistently using messaging that underscores the importance of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing in our buildings. All individuals that are currently involved in activities taking place in District buildings and facilities are required to wear a mask, as indicated by signage in and around our buildings.  

Will families be required to provide test results or a letter of clearance to return to school?        

If a student or staff member wishes to return on day 8 of quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19, they must provide a negative test result to the District Nursing Team.  If no test result is provided, the individual must remain in quarantine for a 10 full days.

Will the District place a travel ban on staff or students?         

We cannot control what our students and staff choose to do in their free time. However, students and staff will be required to follow any quarantine guidelines after travel, as outlined in our Health Management and Exclusion Guidelines.

Human Resources

If a staff member becomes sick with a non-COVID-19 illness, will they need to use sick days?

If a staff member is quarantined or out sick due to a COVID-19 related illness, the district will cover their sick time. If an illness is not related to COVID-19, the District’s current sick leave policy will remain in effect.

Will health insurance premiums increase for staff?

We do not anticipate an increase in insurance premiums at this time.

How is the District addressing substitute teachers?         

Each school in the district has hired a building substitute to allow for increased flexibility and coverage. Additionally, each school has developed a proactive plan to address staff shortages and implement substitute support.

Other  

How is the District addressing equity issues related to COVID-19?

Equity is the driver for all of our decisions. We have developed partnerships with local medical centers to provide access to testing for all of our staff members. We will provide staff with the necessary PPE for their position and role within our schools, and we will also provide a face mask for students and staff who are unable to obtain one.

What proactive steps is the District taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community? What education and advocacy is taking place?  

We believe it's important to encourage people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 now so we can safely return to school in the fall. We are having proactive conversations at the state level and have reached out to local legislatures. We also encourage members of our community to contact their local Alders and Mayor to express support for an all-city mask ordinance. We have also developed a robust Resource Library that contains valuable information regarding COVID-19 symptoms, social distancing and more.