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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette Administrator Presents School Reopening Plan To Board

Issue Date: July 29, 2021

At its meeting on Monday, July 26, Superintendent Corrie Lambie presented the Marinette School Board with his â€reconnecting†plan for reopening schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

Initial plans call for bringing all students back for in-person instruction five days per week, with the understanding that information regarding Covid-19 may change and influence the plans.

As presented, face coverings will be optional, and social distancing will be done as much as possible, with 3 feet of distance recommended, but learning groups allowed in classrooms. Students will be advised to avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and covering coughs and sneezes with tissue or elbows.

Masks will be required on busses for students and drivers, and students from the same family are to be seated together when practical. Otherwise they will be grouped by school or grade level. Lambie said children not comfortable wearing masks will need to find other means of transportation.

Athletics and co-curriculars will follow WIAA and DHS guidelines. Spectator rules have not yet been finalized. Field trips will be allowed.

If in-school classes are interrupted, there will be provision for meals to be provided for pickup and/or delivery.

Visitors are to contact the office to determine if the visit is necessary. Safety drills will continue based on CDC, DPI and County Health Services guidance.

Contact tracing will be done with students in the same household, by classroom in elementary grades, and by classes in middle school and high school to identify students who were possibly exposed.

Students will receive a phone call to be asked to monitor for symptoms. There will be 10-day quarantines required for anyone showing symptoms, except that those who are vaccinated will not be asked to quarantine. Students exposed but without symptoms will not be asked to quarantine. Anyone who was quarantined or had symptoms may return to school once symptom free for 24 hours, with no fever, or if they had a negative antigen or PCR test.

Parents are to do the symptom screening at home and not send ill students to school.

There are to be routine daily cleanings, and materials will be available for students and staff to disinfect commonly used spaces, desks and equipment after use.

The accompanying timetable called for highlights of the draft reconnecting plan being shared with the board at the July 26 meeting for discussion, and then being shared with staff during a webinar at 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, and School Board members can also participate. After receiving suggestions from staff, the draft plan will be shared with the Reconnecting Committee at an evening meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

On Wednesday, Aug. 4 the final plan is to be shared with staff to let them know of any changes, and then be shared with all families prior to an update to the Board of Education for discussion at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17. There is no provision for the board to approve or disapprove the plan.

Goals for the plan listed safety of students and staff as being of greatest importance, followed by social and emotional well being, flexibility (to allow for fluid response to changing conditions), and instruction, with initial plans reflecting an in-person learning model for students from 4K through Grade 12. Information will be available on school web sites.

During time for public comment early in the meeting, several speakers called on the board to eliminate mask requirements and to not require vaccinations for students. One middle school teacher and several kindergarten teachers said their students did not object to wearing the masks.

Brian Hable asked the board if any of them had done personal research on effects of masks and the preventative inoculations.

â€What you've done to our kids is horrible,†he declared. â€We should let them breathe and not be jamming needles into their arms.†He said he was naive last year, but now is more knowledgeable.

Another speaker opposed to masks and injections declared the masks interfere with the purpose of going to school, which he described as â€10 percent book learning, and 90 percent interaction.†He said he had taken his kids out of public school last year because of the masks, and will do so again if masks are required again. He said the public is opposed to mandatory masking and mandatory inoculations, â€...and if that's the way you're doing it, I'll have 500 people at your next meeting.â€

Lambie told him the reconnecting plan was on the agenda for board discussion that evening, and making the masks optional for students and staff had gone into effect earlier that day.

â€Once again it appears this board has chosen to ignore its responsibility to students and parents,†Morton Schall declared, adding that the board, not the administrator, should be setting policy for the district. He referred indirectly to another issue he called a policy violation, and declared, â€We need leadership, not rubber stamps!â€

Board President John LaCourt asked if he was aware of the CESA policy in regard to board responsibilities.

Kindergarten teacher Carla Rastall said she had been â€amazed and happily surprised†to see how well students accepted their masks, and said in the 30 years she has been teaching she has never seen so few colds and sore throats, and said she is in favor or requiring the students to wear masks, at least until the youngest ones get a chance to be vaccinated.

Middle School Teacher Pete Schwaba somewhat repeated those sentiments, as did kindergarten teacher Mary Schwaba. â€I'm mad because I want to go to school and teach and I can't because kids are not vaccinated,†she said.

Another kindergarten teacher said her family doctor had told her all kids are healthier than ever this year because they had been wearing the masks.

Lambie thanked board members for participating in a July board training session, which was focused on goals and board responsibilities versus administrative responsibilities. The next training workshop will be on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Board member Rose O'Hara said the information she and other board members get at these training sessions helps with making decisions.

The meeting included a report from C. D. Smith on the â€right sizing†project, which is well underway at both the Merryman and Park School sites. The board was told the parking lot at Merryman is gone and 420 feet of foundation has been poured in the last two weeks.

Despite problems with the construction materials markets in general, so far things needed for the project have been showing up when needed, â€and so far the budget is looking good.â€

Lambie read the student report, which included a notation that Student Senate officers met last week to start planning dates for the coming year in hopes of bringing back most, if not all, of the activities they were able to participate in years past.


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