Reopening Plan 2020-21 Frequently Asked Questions
This is a broad question. We know that adults are more easily infected than children. There are several risk factors for more serious infection including such things as age, hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease, obesity. COVID-19 also disproportionately affects certain racial and ethnic groups. It is important to note that the virus is typically spread from adult to adult and adult to child; transmission from child to child or from a child to an adult is rare.
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. Please be aware that as additional guidance is released from the WI State Department of Health and the CDC, recommendations outlined in the Reopening Plan may change. WSD and WHD will collaborate to ensure that new guidance is followed and that staff and families are made aware of changes.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still too new for the medical community to be certain of the long-term effects for people who have recovered from the virus. There are multiple studies currently underway that are focusing on how patients are recovering from COVID-19. It may be several years before the medical community has a true understanding of the long-term effects.
Please refer to this document for clarification on when individuals need to stay home and when they can return. These guidelines are consistent with our local health department, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC.
Building staff will follow this flowchart to determine when a child needs to be sent home. If building staff have any questions about whether a student can stay in school or go home, they will contact one of our school nurses. This is the same practice we have followed every school year.
We recognize that many students have chronic conditions that could be quite similar to those of COVID-19. We request that parents work with their child's primary care provider to develop a treatment plan that eliminates or minimizes these symptoms. In the rare case that symptoms cannot be eliminated after working with a medical provider, our school nurses are prepared to develop an individualized plan for students with a history of documented chronic conditions.
You may contact your primary care physician for this information or visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website to find sites in the greater Milwaukee area. Currently all commercial insurance carriers, Medicare, Medicaid and government plans cover COVID-19 testing and waive copays and deductibles. Some testing sites are free.
To ensure that staff have access to testing, we are developing local partnerships with Froedtert and Aurora that will allow us to provide rapid turnaround testing to staff members who are unable or choose not to access these options. More information will be provided as details are finalized.
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 3 days of improving symptoms including no fever without the use of medication. If an individual tests negative COVID-19, they may return after 24 hours of improved symptoms.
If an exposure occurred at school or other District program, you will be contacted by the Wauwatosa Health Department or you will receive a letter from our District Nurse, Katelyn Lasse. Letters will be sent based on risk classification.
LOW RISK: those who were in the same District building on the same date as the COVID-19-positive individual. Click here to view a sample LOW RISK letter.
MEDIUM RISK: those who have come within 6 feet of a COVID-19-positive individual for more than 10 minutes. Click here to view a sample MEDIUM RISK letter.
Any individuals who have experienced a high-risk exposure will be contacted directly by the Wauwatosa Health Department.
If the exposure happened outside of District programming, then you will only hear from the Wauwatosa Health Department.
The Health Department will provide guidance on any exposures that happen outside of the District. If a family member is exposed through work and must quarantine for 14 days, the rest of the household could continue to attend District programming as normal. If the family member develops symptoms and tests positive, then the entire family must stay home during the family member's illness, plus and an additional 14 days past the family member's well date to make sure they did not contract COVID19.
Families were given the choice between our Phase Into Learning framework, Tosa Connected and Wauwatosa Virtual Academy.
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.
Learning opportunities will be provided for students in quarantine using Canvas. We are currently exploring additional opportunities for students and staff to engage virtually and will finalize those details prior to the first day of school.
Model of Instruction selections were to be made by Monday, August 10, 2020. Families that did not submit a form will have their student(s) placed in the Phase Into Learning model of instruction.
Students will participate in two days of synchronous (live) lessons and three days of asynchronous (pre-recorded, independent practice) learning. We do anticipate that our younger learners will require support from family members.
All students will be enrolled in english, math, science and social studies courses, with the opportunity to participate in other select offerings. We will, however, not be able to offer as robust a selection of courses as are normally available in the traditional model of instruction. Please contact your school's guidance counselor to discuss course selection.
Please click here for a full FAQ specific to Tosa Connected!
Students enrolled in Tosa Connected (Cohort A) and Wauwatosa Virtual Academy will begin school on Tuesday, September 8. Students in Tosa Connected (Cohort B) will begin school on Thursday, September 10.
Yes! We are partnering with Pearson to provide Wauwatosa Virtual Academy courses for students K-12.
WVA course descriptions can be found here.
Schools will work with families on a case by case basis to provide support and make accommodations to support student learning at home.
If a family chooses to transition from Tosa Connected or WVA to the Phase Into Learning model at the trimester or semester, the student will return to their neighborhood school or the school that they were assigned to through an approved intradistrict transfer at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Students will be provided with an orientation to Canvas, and principals and staff will work with students individually to welcome and support them upon return.
Yes! Instructors will be available to support student learning and answer questions regarding coursework.
All students will have the opportunity to use a District-issued Chromebook to engage in virtual learning.
Students will maintain enrollment at their home high school. The student's diploma would be issued by their home high school.
Student cohort information is available via Infinite Campus. Log in, click on the Inbox tab and open the cohort assignment message for each student to view their cohort information. We have made efforts to keep students within the same household in the same cohort. However, if you’d like to request a change in cohort, please complete this form by 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Changes will only be considered for extenuating circumstances and if the flexibility exists to support your request while maintaining small and balanced class sizes.
Class sizes will vary and may be reduced depending on the number of families who choose to enroll their student(s) in our virtual option. In a hybrid model of instruction, class sizes will be reduced by approximately 50%.
Our Medical/Public Health Advisory Panel has established benchmarks and a scorecard that will provide guidance to the School Board. The School Board will make the final determination regarding phases, and efforts will be made to provide families with as much advance notice as possible regarding transitioning between phases.
We will deliver closure information across a variety of platforms to ensure effective communication to all stakeholder groups. Those platforms include, but are not limited to: email, web updates, social media, text messages, printed flyers and signage on our buildings. We intend to provide families with as much advance notice as possible regarding school closures or changes to the model of instruction.
In the virtual learning model, teachers will use the full day on Friday to plan and prep for the upcoming week. Elementary teachers will have time away from the classroom during students' specials classes, including art, music and gym; secondary teachers will have scheduled prep time in a hybrid and in-person model as well.
Cohort A will have their first day of school on Tuesday, September 8. Cohort B's first day of school will be Thursday, September 10. Please visit our Resource Library to view a Learning Overview for each cohort group.
In the hybrid phase, students will learn in person two days per week and virtually three days per week. During the three virtual days, students will work independently through Canvas. In a full-virtual phase, students will learn synchronously two days per week and asynchronously for the other three days.
You can view the board-approved timeline for the Phase Into Learning model at this link. Please note that this timeline assumes all conditions are favorable. The School Board may revoke approval based on guidance provided by our Medical/Public Health Advisory Panel.
In a hybrid model, students with disabilities will follow the hybrid model of their current schedule and remain in the class or the classes they are currently enrolled in.
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.
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.
The District will follow guidance from the Department of Public Instruction bulletin 20.01 to determine if there is a need for additional services.
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.
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.
Students who are currently enrolled in STEM or Montessori programs may participate in Phase Into Learning or Tosa Connect, which will both consist of classes taught by STEM and Montssori teachers.
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 a virtual option in the Wauwatosa School District (either Tosa Connected or Wauwatosa Virtual Academy) will maintain their seat for the 2020-21 school year.
The Tosa Connected virtual model will follow the benchmarks of the Wauwatosa School District and utilize the adopted supporting resources. Principals and staff will welcome and support returning students.
Students are expected to attend as outlined in the framework.
We are exploring ways to move student classroom spaces to accommodate class sizes.
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.
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.
We will continue to provide rigorous instruction to students in all classes.
Yes. 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.
We are working on those details now and will provide an update in the coming weeks. If we are able to provide opportunities for students to engage, we will make every effort to do so. It is our goal to offer all sports, and we will follow WIAA guidelines for season start dates.
Some sports have already started. Our Athletics Department will follow the guidelines from WIAA.
Traveling will be evaluated with each club based on its destination and transportation needs.
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 will be installing new HEPA air filters to further maximize air quality and safety. We will leave the room dampers (vents) open 100% of the time to maximize fresh air flow. We will also install bipolar ionization in our mechanical systems which helps destroy the COVID-19 virus. We will use portable UV light systems in specific areas like the health room or in rooms where a positive case occurs. Classroom windows may be opened if needed, but we strongly suggest they remain closed to maintain balance. Our Buildings + Grounds team has secured window air conditioning units to help cool classrooms.
We have increased cleaning staff and will hold a two-week orientation to train all custodial staff on proper cleaning guidelines and updated cleaning procedures. Buildings will follow the guidelines outlined in the Reopening Framework. Specifics will be determined by each building principal. A deep cleaning will be conducted in each building every Wednesday.
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.
Limited access will be allowed. Social distancing will be followed with guidance from signage installed throughout the space.
Classroom set-up will be specific to age, room and subject, and will be tailored to each individual classroom setting. An example of a possible classroom space can be found in our Reopening Framework.
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.
Masks are currently required in all District buildings and will be required as we begin the 2020-21 school year. The District will provide options for our staff including face masks, face shields and other barriers to wear. If a student does not have a mask, the District will provide one for them.
No. A face shield is not a substitute for a mask. A face shield may provide additional protection to the wearer when worn with a mask, but they provide little protection to the wearer or those around the wearer when worn alone.
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.
Yes. We recognize that mask wearing is a new skill for all of us, and we are prepared to help students learn. However, we also need to clarify and provide specific examples to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.
Any space that can be supervised by an adult and is six feet away from others is appropriate for a mask break. Teachers may choose to designate a corner or spot in the classroom where this is allowed. We recommend that our younger students are given a visible boundary (tape on the floor, carpet square, or a taped down hula hoop) to help them better understand the specific area where they are allowed to remove their mask.
Masks must be worn at all times when indoors or when outside and unable to physically distance.
Ideally, one child at a time will be on a mask break within a classroom. However, if a child shares they are having difficulty breathing, we will be flexible and find space and staff supervision to assist.
Teachers will use their professional discretion based on the age, grade, and development of the child. If your child says they need a break, we will accommodate and provide one. However, mask breaks are not meant to be fun or to be used to avoid learning. Teachers will be asked to ensure there are no books, cell phones, school work, or other items for children to interact with during their mask break. The student’s focus should be on controlling their breathing.
Teachers will be recommended to set a timer and monitor for five minutes or less. If it is a sensory need, this time period most likely will be enough. However, if children were running around outside, they may need more time to recover. For example, for students with inhalers, it can take up to 20 minutes for the treatment to work and provide relief. If after 20 minutes, a child says that they cannot put on their mask, the family will be notified and the child will need to go home and be evaluated by a medical provider.
If recess or gym take place indoors, they will need to wear masks. If recess or gym take place outdoors, then masks may be removed at the discretion of the teacher or playground supervisor. Students must be spaced at least six feet apart for the removal of masks to be allowed outdoors.
When someone is not wearing a mask, their droplets will enter the environment. However, 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.
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.
No, the District will not implement random COVID-19 testing.
In this situation, the District may ask for verification of a negative test result before the child returns to school.
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 defined by the CDC. Information on this can be accessed here.
If an illness is not related to COVID-19, the District’s current sick leave policy will remain in effect.
We do not anticipate an increase in insurance premiums at this time.
This is not an option being offered at this time.
Employees who wish to resign and break their contract will be required to pay the liquidated damages fee.
Each school in the district will hire a building substitute to allow for increased flexibility and coverage. Additionally, each school is developing a proactive plan to address staff shortages and implement substitute support. The district is also taking steps to recruit additional substitute teachers by increasing pay and providing other perks, such as free lunch. We are also implementing a bonus structure to increase substitutes' acceptance of assignments.
We are looking at opportunities to minimize travel to the greatest extent possible, while maximizing safety protocols.
Current DHS, DPI and CDC guidelines state that "anyone showing signs of illness must stay home for 10 days from when the symptoms started and 24 hours of improving symptoms including no fever without the use of medication." If a staff member is quarantined or out sick due to a COVID-19 related illness, the district will cover their sick time.
Yes! All students enrolled in the Wauwatosa School District will have access to a District-issued Chromebook for their use.
The District is placing an increased emphasis on proactive, frequent communication. All important updates will be published on the Reopening page of the District website: www.wauwatosaschools.org/reopen. As information is available, staff and families will also receive email and/or SMS communications from the District. Updates may also be published on the District's Facebook or Twitter pages.
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.
As we currently do with grading and reporting, we will report on the information and learning that students have been able to participate in.
Currently, the school board meetings are drawing large crowds that go above the 50 person gathering limit in Wauwatosa. Having meetings via zoom makes the meetings more accessible to everyone who wants to comment. The Board will be back in session before we expect staff to return to the buildings, and we will continue to look for ways to reduce risk at all in-person gatherings in our buildings.
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.
The District will continue to follow the guidelines put forth by the Wauwatosa Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC. It is important to note that we are governed by local rule and that the city of Wauwatosa or Wisconsin Department of Health Services may have more stringent guidelines than the CDC.
The Wauwatosa School District must follow all guidelines provided by the Wauwatosa Health Department.
We do not plan to modify or move the last day of school for the 2020-21 school year. The District will meet or exceed the number of target minutes outlined by the Department of Public Instruction. However, we also anticipate receiving a waiver from DPI.
Specifics will be determined by each building principal in conjunction with our Safety and Security Coordinator.
At this time, the Wauwatosa Health Department has not required any schools to submit their reopening plans. However, the Wauwatosa School District and Wauwatosa Health Department will continue to collaborate on the District's reopening.