Outdoor graduation planned for Ashwaubenon seniors
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – Close to two months after a districtwide return to in-person learning five days a week, district administrators are planning a return of some school events canceled last year after the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived.
Superintendent Kurt Weyers said he was excited to announce a high school graduation ceremony is planned for Sunday, June 13.
“Right now, we are planning an outdoor ceremony on Goelz Field, weather permitting,” he said. “We’ll have alternate plans for an indoor ceremony, if necessary.”
High School Principal Dirk Ribbens said a determination as to whether the graduation ceremony is held indoors or outdoors would be made around the middle of the week prior to the ceremony.
Weyers said a senior night is also being planned for the graduating seniors Friday, May 21, when the event would be a combination of the prom and senior night, but without a dance.
Weyers, who updated the Ashwaubenon school board March 17 on the status of the district’s reopening plan, said masks would continue to be worn in the schools.
“In addition, we will continue to do our best job of maintaining social distancing, and masks play a pivotal role in that,” he said.
Weyers said the district had to quarantine some elementary school classrooms, while quarantines have been limited among secondary students, averaging about 10 students a day at Parkview Middle School and 12 students at the high school during the week of March 8.
“We will continue to have some quarantines, but hopefully it will become less and less,” he said. “Our numbers look really good.”
Weyers said the number of Brown County residents testing positive for COVID-19 over a 14-day period dropped below 100 per 100,000.
“Think back when we had conversations in December and November, and we were trending at 1,200 and 1,300, and now to be at 76 (per 100,000 on March 15) is fantastic,” he said.
As one of three criteria for determining whether to switch from in-person to remote instruction, the board previously decided a level above 835 out of 100,000 county residents testing positive over a 14-day period for two of three consecutive school days, with the level trending up or flat, could trigger a review.
Weyers said staff absences are ranging from 5-8 percent, with the board having decided reaching 15 percent of district staff being absent could trigger a review.
He said student absences have been consistently around 8 percent, with the high school “a little bit higher,” but remaining below 30 percent the board set for triggering a review.
When he was Valley View Elementary School’s principal, Weyers said he felt good “in a normal year” if student absences from January to March were around 8 percent.
He said the quarantining of students and staff has been limited, averaging the week of March 8 around 40-45 students out of the 2,750 district students learning in-person, along with averaging about two staff per week in quarantine.
“Obviously, the things we are doing and putting in place are good,” Weyers said. “There are other districts in our area that had well over 200 kids in quarantine, so it’s a real credit to our students, our families and our staff.”
As of the March 17 board meeting, he said more than 300 staff members were either fully vaccinated or received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 30 scheduled to get the vaccination.
Weyers said all staff wishing to be vaccinated should have that completed by mid-April.