JWP Chromebooks (copy)

The Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton students will each have a Chromebook to work on in class and for distance learning. (County News file photo)

JWP will start the school year in a hybrid model. The JWP School Board unanimously voted in favor of the resolution at the August meeting.

Pre-kindergarten through seventh grade will be in-person daily while grades eighth through 12th grade are on a rotating schedule. All students will be using a Chromebook for their work.

“We had our staff in on Monday (Aug. 24) and we brought in Willow Sweeney from Top 20 Training, who worked with our staff last year and she made some great key points, especially during this time of uncertainty,” JWP Superintendent Kurt Stumpf said. What hit home to them (staff) was a couple concepts to keep in mind.”

He said the concepts are that the staff acknowledges there are going to be some struggles this school year. Staff is trying to do the next best thing if things change due to COVID-19, staff will stay curious and not jump to assumptions.

The hybrid model is a base-learning model to start the year with Stumpf and the school board chair able to change the plan quickly based on what is best for the safety of the students and staff. The training staff received from Sweeney will help with these changes throughout the school year.

PreK-seventh grade

Students in pre-kindergarten through seventh grade will be in the JWP building Monday through Friday.

These students will stay in one classroom for the entire day, with the exception of the seventh-grade teachers rotating rooms. The seventh-grade teachers are rotating so there is less movement in the building to keep students and staff safe.

“We’re able to do that because we have the space,” Stumpf said. “So desks are 6 feet apart and meeting the capacity limits on the bus and in the classroom in our hybrid model.”

Eighth through 12th grade

Grades eight through 12 will be split into two groups: silver and blue. The silver group will be in school for two days in a row to continue with the block schedule while the blue group is distance learning at home on those days. Then the blue group will attend in person school for two days while the silver group is at home distance learning.

The block schedule has odd classes one day and even classes the second day.

All students in eighth grade through 12th grade will rotate classrooms per usual, due to class needs such as welding or art.

“We’ve got some things in place to take as many precautions as we can,” Stumpf said.

When students rotate from room to room there are one-way hallways, students can carry backpacks, every room has a hand sanitizer station to use when they enter, desks will be washed between use and many other safety precautions.

Paraprofessionals will work directly with students in classrooms when needed.

“I think our rationale is we want to give our students as much support as we can,” Stumpf said. “...We still want our paras working as best they can with the students with social distancing.”

Most students will be following this hybrid plan, but about 14 percent of students at JWP chose full-time distance learning to start the year.

For those students participating in the hybrid learning in the building be required to wear a mask at all times with some exceptions. Lunch time is one of the main times students will be able to take off their masks.

The school plans to serve lunches in classrooms whenever possible with some eating in the lunchroom.

Transportation

Stumpf said there are seven daily bus routes that can transport students at 50 percent capacity.

Some of the routes will be tier busing, meaning part of a route will be picked up and then the other half of the route will be brought to school or taken home. This tier system allows the bus company to keep the same amount of routes for the time being.

“Safety is our most main concern,” Tim Engel with Palmer Bus Service of JWP said. “We’re going to help the students as much as we can. I’m very concerned about my employees getting sick, I have no replacements.”

Students riding the bus will have an assigned seat with families sitting together. Students will be required to wear a mask when on the bus and the windows will be down as much as possible.

In between tiers and routes sanitizing will take place and after the afternoon route.

“It is challenging to get resupplied, but we currently have enough for the beginning of the school year,” Engel said.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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