Beaver Dam School Board Approves Mix Of In-Person, Virtual Learning

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam School Board Monday night continued their efforts to hammer out the district’s Return To School Plan. The multi-faceted strategy initially adopted last month uses CDC and local county public health guidelines in outlining scenarios, subject to change with any pandemic-related developments.

For example, if there is low coronavirus activity in the county, there could be in-person learning at all grade levels. Conversely, with high levels of infections, school could become virtual based only.

Superintendent Mark DiStefano told school officials that he does not anticipate that county public health officials will make any significant changes in their guidelines by the time school starts. The school board Monday night unanimously adopted DiStefano’s recommendation to take a hybrid approach this fall. Students in early Kindergarten through sixth grade would be in school five days a week. Seventh through 12th graders would be in school for two days while having three days of virtual learning.

Unless there are medical considerations, DiStefano says students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times, even if the statewide mandate is no longer in place.

DiStefano says no decision has been made about fall sports as all eyes are on the WIAA Board of Controls, set to meet this Friday, in advance of student athletic practices beginning on Monday.

“The tea leaves at this point in time would suggest that the fall season in the state of Wisconsin doesn’t necessarily look like its going to happen,” he says adding, “I’m not going to say for certain that its not. I believe Illinois and Minnesota have already made that decision and obviously if the WIAA makes the decision it makes it easy on districts.”

Parents have their choice of in-person or virtual learning for their children. DiStefano says nearly 85-percent of parents have already made their decision. Around 80-percent of students will be learning in-school while 20-percent have opted for the virtual option. Parents can change their minds, though DiStefano says that it will be a lot easier to move from in-person to virtual learning than the other way around.


Watch the meeting on the Beaver Dam Unified School District YouTube page.