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Still no change in Green Bay gating criteria

By Heather Graves

GREEN BAY – Another week, another meeting and still no decision on updated criteria for a return to in-person instruction for the Green Bay school district.

The board again held off voting on any new metrics in anticipation of recommendations from the Brown County Health Department, which were expected last week.

It was the board’s intention to take up the vote at the special board meeting Monday, Sept. 21.

However, because the county still hasn’t released anything, the board agreed to hold off any vote until it received information from the county.

This is despite the work of trustee Andrew Becker, who created gating criteria for the Green Bay district presented to the board Aug. 24.

“The ‘no’ vote tonight has nothing to do with Andrew’s work not being good enough, it’s just a piece of the work moving forward,” said Kristina Shelton, board vice president. “I just want to clarify, the metric that Andrew is using in the motion that currently exists, that metric will be embedded into the dashboard (the county is putting forward). That is one of five that the county will have. We can still use that metric. We are just basically saying there are other metrics that we want to pull in because we have more data.”

Some trustees wanted the board to commit to a vote at the next meeting Monday, Sept. 28.

“I thought Aug. 31 was too long to wait,” Becker said. “I thought last week was too long to wait. I think this week is too long to wait. There has been time for the county to weigh in. I think people deserve to know when we would be at a point that we could reopen in a blended model. I think it’s already too late.”

Others said it makes sense to have all the information before making a decision.

“My only hesitation there is I don’t understand the rush,” said Eric Vanden Heuvel, board president. “We would just find ourselves in the same situation. We are waiting for them. They are making progress. If the virus spread in our community was at a low level, and we were close, I would understand the urgency. But we are nowhere near any kind of transition, based upon any metrics that we’ve looked at, regardless of the model. We can still have a discussion on gating criteria, but we can use the best data that is available to us. We can decide if we want five metrics, or four metrics or three, and we will have somebody from county health here in front of us that can hopefully, at least, inform us a little better, which is what we wanted all along. If we know something better is coming down the line, then I think we should wait for it.”

As soon as the county releases its data, administration will input it into an interactive spreadsheet and bring it to the board.

It’s the board’s directive to have a representative from the county health department attend a future meeting to discuss the data it releases.

“Brown County is working very hard to develop a dashboard that will be available to the public that is very relevant to Brown County specifically,” said Superintendent Steve Murley. “We can ask them to come in and explain the data points, and then we can use the interacting dialogue to figure out where to set those gating points.”

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