Before its regular board meeting July 15, the Osceola School Board held a committee meeting with the main topic being the school’s reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year. 

Superintendent Mark Luebker led the presentation by saying Polk County School Districts received guidance from a variety of sources including the Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Polk County Health Department and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. 

“We are planning to start with a five day face-to-face start on Aug. 26,” he continued. 

Planning is the key word in the sentence because COVID-19 can change plans in an instant. 

“This plan cannot possibly address every scenario that the COVID-19 pandemic might produce,” Luebker continued. “Real-time issues and decisions that are not identified in this plan will be addressed collaboratively between partner agencies.”

Yet, the plan took some assumptions into place. Some of them were: 

Safety of students, staff and the community is the overall top priority. 

There will be positive cases. 

Remote learning will be required at times. 

Extra-curricular events may be canceled or postponed based on disease activity and sports risk level.

The plan will be updated and revised as needed. 

Some of the notables from the plan include: 

Operations

Bottle filling drinking water stations. Disposable cups for those without water bottles. 

Limiting the use of time at lockers. Backpacks will now be allowed into the classroom. 

The current health room will be for injuries and medication distribution and a staffed room will be for students who are ill. “It’s a staffing issue,” explained school nurse Rachel Robinson. “I can’t be in four places at one time.” 

Students are strongly encouraged to wear cloth face coverings at all times and certainly during times when social distancing isn’t available. Luebker said when asked, “some District made it a requirement. 

Passing times will be staggered in grades 3-8. High School Assistant Principal Scott Newton said it can’t work at the high school because there are very few classes there that are grade-only. 

Separate entry and exit points whenever possible. 

When it comes to shared objects, the classroom teachers will manage them. 

Teaching and reinforcing hand hygiene. 

If there’s a positive case, district families will be notified within the district via message center/email. 

No visitors or field trips or large gatherings. 

All staff will wear masks when 6 feet of distancing is not possible. 

Students are only allowed in the buildings between 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., unless in a supervised activity. Upon arrival, they will head directly to classrooms. 

50% capacity per bus with one student per seat (same household students can sit together). 

Students will have assigned seats on busing for tracing purposes and sit at the window to provide 6 feet of separation. 

Hand sanitizer for use entering and exiting the bus and students will not be allowed to eat or drink on the bus. 

Food service staff will be masked during service to students. 

Instructional Model

For a traditional classroom learning, resources for kindergarten through second grade are Seesaw and grades 3 and up will be using Schoology. For remote learning, it was noted, it may be used for short or long term needs as determined by positive COVID-19 cases. 

Extra Curricular Activities

Luebker and Activities Director Scott Newton said as of the meeting, they are to believe WIAA will be moving forward as of now. It was started during the session, if “school is able to resume in a traditional classroom learning environment, clubs and activities will take place with social distancing and safety measures in place.” 

Other information

No open houses will take place. 

Luebker added the plan was modeled after work completed by the Stevens Point Area School District. 

Construction updates 

Luebker addressed the board on construction updates: 

Phase one plans include: 

Tuck pointing, starting at the high school and middle school.

LED lighting has started at the high school. 

Security cameras started at the high school Monday. 

Polish concrete floors have started at the intermediate school and will move to the middle school next. 

The PA systems, fire alarm panels and students lockers will start later this month and extend into August. 

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