July 20, 2020

Board accepts task force report

Hamilton School Board members approved a plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year that includes in-person and virtual options for students. In June and July, the 70-member Reopening Schools Task Force studied issues of providing instruction and services to students and keeping students, staff and families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.school board meeting_type

The five subcommittees of the task force also reviewed results of parent and staff surveys to come up with a plan to meet the needs of students, staff and families.

Options for learning

Among the task force’s recommendations and conclusions, three modes of learning were identified as options for students:

  • 100% in-person learning in school;
  • 100% virtual learning at home; and
  • Emergency remote learning for students who are out for several days because of COVID-19 exposure.

Common technology platforms ID’d

The task force also identified common technology platforms to communicate learning and progress to families. Students in grades 4K-6 will use Seesaw with those in grades 3-6 also having access to Google Classroom. Middle and high school students would consistently use Google Sites and Google Classroom.

Additional professional development days offered

Of significance was the School Board’s approval of four additional professional development days in August that will focus on: health, safety and wellness of students and staff; high quality teaching and learning in an online and in-person environment; and the opportunity for staff to collaborate. Staff who attend training Aug. 5 and 6 or Aug. 18 and 19 will get two additional collaborative planning days before Aug. 24.

Templeton moves to block schedule

Templeton Middle School will move to a block schedule this fall that is expected to help students better focus on their classes and cut down on the amount of travel and exposure to others during the day. During the spring when students learned from home, school staff heard from parents and students that managing seven to eight classes per day was difficult. The new schedule keeps the number of classes taken in a semester the same, but using an A/B day schedule, they will have only five classes each day.

More details from 5 subcommittees

In addition, the task force identified plans to: provide social and emotional support for students, staff and families; ensure technology access, support and guidance to all stakeholders; maximize safety through policies and protocols affecting lunch, facilities, transportation, athletics and visitors. Learn more details about each of the five subcommittee’s recommendations.

Financial impact could hit $1.3 million

The impact on the district’s budget could reach $1.3 million for resources, professional development, technology licenses, equipment, additional staff, protective personal equipment and cleaning supplies. The School Board approved having the money come from the district’s fund balance.

No decision on face masks until after county guidance

A decision that the School Board did not make was whether students and staff will be required to wear masks. That will not be addressed until Waukesha County Health Department issues guidance on that issue.