(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam School District is temporarily moving to virtual learning for one week following the Thanksgiving break. The district is operating under a hybrid learning approach in response to COVID-19 with students in grades six through 12 in school two days a week while learning virtually for three days and younger students in school all week. The school board Monday night approved a recommendation from Superintendent Mark DiStefano to suspend in-person learning at all grade levels from November 30 through December 4.
DiStefano says the decision, made in consultation with the Dodge County Health Department, is meant to minimize the overall spread of coronavirus and help maintain staffing levels. He says by allowing a cooling-off period, that could proactively allow symptoms to present themselves from greater interactions over the holiday. DiStefano says the cool-off period “theory” would only helpful if people remain vigilant and cautious and also if they are honest with symptoms.
The school board’s Lisa Panzer said there was a spike in cases after the last move to virtual learning and expressed concern that it could happen again. DiStefano says the increase is more likely attributable to cases increasing in the community as a whole and not as the result of the break. The school board’s Tony Klatt said that there was not enough information for Panzer to arrive at that decision.
“Its not making a decision it’s a matter of acting as though we’re going to get some big reduction by having people stay home,” Panzer said.
“And you’re making an assumption off one little bit of information here,” Klatt said.
“Yea, but we’re making an assumption that we can have 3500 students be virtual when parents have work,” Panzer said, “and families have other realities that don’t necessarily lend themselves to having their students at home with them.”
“But we can also make an assumption that Mark [DiStefano] is right and that it will work.” Klatt said.
School is expected to resume on Monday, December 7. The school board will evaluate the post-Thanksgiving, virtual learning week for possible implementation again after the Christmas and New Year’s break.