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Safer at Home extension closes schools for rest of 2019-20

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

BROWN COUNTY – K-12 students at all area schools will continue remote instruction and won’t be returning to classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

As a result of Gov. Tony Evers extending the Safer at Home order through Memorial Day weekend, he said all K-12 schools will remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, but may continue distance or virtual learning, as well as food distribution and essential government functions.

The previous order issued by Evers was set to expire April 24, before being extended another month and eliminating the possibility students could physically return this school year after being out of the classroom since the middle of March.

Ashwaubenon Superintendent Kurt Weyers said he’s disappointed students won’t be returning to the classrooms this academic year, but doesn’t disagree with the governor’s order being extended.

“With this news, Ashwaubenon school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the school year, but education will continue remotely until June 10…,” he said. “Breakfast and lunch meal pickup will continue Monday through Friday each week.”

Weyers said he has been “really amazed and blown away with the effort of our parents” to make remote learning across all schools possible in the district.

“We recognize that learning from home might create new challenges,” he said. “The district staff continues to be committed to supporting all of our students and families.”

Weyers said the governor’s order means the district’s facilities wouldn’t be able to reopen until July 1.

As a result, he said summer school will not take place as originally planned in June and July with the district now looking at holding certain courses over two weeks from Aug. 3-14 as a “boot camp” with intensive instruction to prepare for the following school year.

Weyers said no final decision has been made about holding a commencement ceremony for graduating seniors, which wouldn’t take place at the usual time, but he hopes the district will be able to host an in-person ceremony possibly in mid to late July or in August.

He said a page with frequently asked questions is being added to the district’s website to provide answers regarding matters such as grading, meals, remote learning picking up personal items from school and more.

Though news of the schools remaining closed was not totally unexpected in the Green Bay school district, Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld said “we are still heartbroken that we will not be back in school with our students for the remainder of the school year.”

“While our physical school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the school year, the district will continue to provide alternative learning for students and the distribution of meals during the week…,” she said. “District administration has been planning for multiple scenarios on how the school year might proceed, and in the next few weeks we will have decisions that ensure the safety and well-being of everyone while taking into account important milestones, such as prom and graduation.”

The Howard-Suamico School District announced learning at home will continue through the end of its school year, June 9, and the district will also serve free breakfast and lunch to all students 18 and under during that time.

Though no decision has been made at this point as to whether a commencement ceremony will be held for the Bay Port Class of 2020, Brian Nicol, director of communications, said the district is looking into ways to honor the graduating seniors.

Nicol said the district is also working with the state to find out whether its summer school will be able to proceed as planned or adjustments need to be made.

In the De Pere school district, Pam Pirman, communications manager, said the district will continue to provide online learning for students through the final instructional day June 9.

Pirman said details regarding other district activities and events are still being developed.

Stacy Schaetz, West De Pere administrative assistant to the superintendent and school board, said many district events are being canceled and/or postponed.

“We are committed to holding a graduation and including other ways to recognize seniors,” she said.

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