LA CROSSE, Wis., (December 2, 2020) –The School District of La Crosse has extended virtual learning for all students through at least January 18, 2021, the end of the first semester. Virtual learning may very well continue beyond January 18, 2021, if the conditions in La Crosse County do not meet the thresholds we have established to return to in-person learning.
The weekly case rate declined this week but so did the number of tests given, from ~400/day to 274/day. The percent positivity ratio remains high and indicates not much has changed in our community. We have been in contact with the Harvard Global Health Institute about a possible update to their model. When this update arrives, we will likely be reassessing our threshold for reopening. Please help us check the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, physically distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and getting tested if you feel ill.
On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the La Crosse County Health Department reported the following COVID-19 metrics and numbers that are used to aid the School District in determining the mode of learning:
Week: 11/23/2020 – 11/29/2020
During the period from 11/23/2020 to 11/29/2020, the School District of La Crosse had 12 positive cases and 3 close contacts of a positive case in the school district. The district has had a total of 68 positive cases and 93 close contacts for the school year. There are also 11 current active cases in the district.
Sources of Information
The School District of La Crosse provides a weekly update on the COVID-19 conditions in the County and the anticipated future learning mode for students. The School District uses a decision matrix based on the Harvard Global Health Institute model to determine the mode of learning for students.
Either primary metric could trigger a move to a more restrictive learning environment. Regardless, schools will maintain a two week stability period before moving to a more or less restrictive learning environment unless ordered to shut down by the State or County Health Department.
Secondary metrics will assist in determining the mode of learning as well as aid in anticipating the future risk level.
Classrooms and schools will move to virtual learning for a period of time if a significant percentage of students are absent for COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. The percentage will be determined in coordination with the La Crosse County Health Department. Classrooms and schools may also be closed as a result of staffing shortages that prevent safe operations or the inability to conduct contact tracing by the following day.
The School District of La Crosse has decided to follow the new Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) alternative fall option schedule for 2020-21 school sports.
This includes a shortened winter season starting with the last week in November, followed by an abbreviated fall season (March and April), and concluding with a spring season (May and June.) There will be no traditional fall sports season to start the school year.
Each school’s activities director will be working on new schedules and gathering more information as it pertains to these changes. Please know this may take some time and will get more information distributed to families as soon as they are able to work out some of the details.
This decision was made to provide the best opportunities for all student-athletes to safely participate in the sport of their choice without experiencing any delays or cancelations due to COVID this fall.
Transportation – We will be requiring masks on the bus for all students and drivers/monitors etc., unless someone is unable to wear them due to health conditions. GoRiteway has ordered over 100 electrostatic cleaning machines that will be used at the end of each day. After each route they will be disinfecting with sanitizing spray and wipes – they will get all touchpoints. We will also be dropping students off at alternate doors so there isn’t a large rush of students in the main entrances.
Physical Spaces – For office and reception areas, we are in the process of installing hanging acrylics in front of the AA desks and are putting down social distancing stickers that are 6 feet apart. Hundreds of portable plexiglass stations have been ordered to be used when students and staff work closely together. We are adding 400 hand sanitizing stations throughout the district near stairwells, doors, conference areas, etc. We have also created isolation rooms in each building where if students are ill they will remain in until someone is able to pick them up.
Cleaning – New Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines
We are implementing new cleaning guidelines and priorities as it relates to cleaning our facilities until further notice. While cleaning and disinfecting it is critical for staff to wear gloves and wash their hands when removing gloves. Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and running water. When cleaning up bodily fluids gloves, masks, and eye protection must be worn. Use proper PPE during this time including mask, gloves, gown, and shield as needed.
Cleaning Priorities will be as follows;
Restrooms & Locker Rooms; Clorox 360 disinfectant machine
- spray all down all hard surfaces wipe down all faucets
- fill all soap and paper towel dispensers
- empty trash
Kitchens – normal cleaning
Common Areas and Classrooms; Clorox 360 disinfectant machine
- fill all soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towel dispensers
- empty trash
- clean and disinfect high touch-surfaces
- light switches
- elevator buttons
- shared items
- clean glass/walls
- wipe down all handrails and other touchpoints
- wipe down doorknobs/buttons
All other cleaning will be done as time permits.
Healthy Environments – We will be opening up our air systems to run 100% outside air frequently to increase circulation through the building.
Daytime Child Care Services
The last guidance the School District of La Crosse received from the La Crosse County Health Department indicated there was less risk for children and staff in small daycare settings than in a full school setting. This is due to the small cohort sizes, limited commingling of groups, and limited activities present in a daycare setting.
The district continues to follow the most recent La Crosse County Health Department guidance to try to offer some daytime care services even though the conditions in La Crosse County have not improved to where in-person schooling can be offered. As the conditions improve in La Crosse County, or if the district receives different guidance from the La Crosse County Health Department, we will work towards providing in-person instruction as soon as we can.
In the meantime, the district would like to announce a community partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and the La Crosse Area Family YMCA to offer daytime care services while the district is in virtual-only learning.
Boys and Girls Club (BGC)
The BGC is working on plans to offer day time services at select Northside and Southside locations. These services would be offered at low to no cost for families in need of assistance. We are working with the BGC on staffing these programs. Enrollment will be limited, but families interested in this programming should complete the interest form below. Please know that submitting the interest form does not guarantee programming for your child or children.
YMCA – School Age Care
We anticipate having care sites at most of our elementary schools and are working with the YMCA on staffing these programs. Enrollment will be limited, and these care services will not be available for students enrolled in the Coulee Region Virtual Academy. Information on this program can be found on the following YMCA website:
This website also has information for families who are not already enrolled in the YMCA before and after school programs or are currently waitlisted.
It will include:
- Programming outline based on the district’s ‘school day’ hours
- Pricing structure
- A link to submit a Registration Request form
The School Age Program is working with our current families to update their registrations and will begin filling additional capacity with families who request temporary ‘school day’ care the week of August 17-24. However, please know that submitting the registration request form does NOT guarantee we will have the capacity for your child.
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior or well-being, please reach out to our school social workers and counselors for assistance and guidance on resources that may be available in our schools and our community to help you and your child.
Feelings Thermometer: A visual guide that will help students identify and describe their feelings, and also give suggestions on how to cope with a range of emotions.
Variety of topics including Adult Self-Care, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Parenting Resources on many topics related to parenting and education during COVID:
Dinner Table Discussions: Short (3-4 minute) videos led by Sarah Johnson, Mental Health Director for the La Crosse Family YMCA. A variety of topics on social and emotional well being are covered, including strategies for caregivers to help their children.
Prepping for Back to School Success https://childmind.org/article/preparing-for-back-to-school-success/
Strategies for Supporting Learning At Home
Back to School Tips for Kids Who Are Struggling
Anxious Stomach Aches and Headaches
School Success Kit for Kids with ADHD (Also good information for all kids to help set schedules for learning time, managing school work and staying focused)
Other Important Back to School Topics
Great Rivers 211: Dial 2-1-1 or go to https://www.greatrivers211.org/gr211/ for a comprehensive list of community resources
Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP): if your family has lost income potentially because of COVID, you may be eligible for financial assistance of up to $3,000 for rent, security deposit or lot rent.
If your housing is unstable, or you are in jeopardy of losing your housing please contact your child’s school social worker or school counselor. There are different community resources they can help connect you to depending on your situation.
If you are homeless (living doubled up with another family because you lost housing because of financial concerns, living in a shelter, hotel, motel, campground, or living in a public or private place not meant for habitation like a car or park) please contact your child’s school social worker or school counselor. The McKinney-Vento Education Assistance Act is federal legislation that, in part, makes sure that students have access to education during homelessness.
Salvation Army is helping to triage individuals and families who are homeless and may be in need of support and resources. 608-782-6126 or https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/lacrosse/
Coulee Tenants United are committed to the fight of fair, affordable and universal housing. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by your landlord call 608-305-4645
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. Call for an appointment between October 1 and May 15. La Crosse County 785-5582
Do you have other unpaid bills or needs for your student or family that you are struggling to meet? Please reach out to your child’s school social worker or counselor for assistance. There may be other community programs or funds available to assist you.
Domestic Violence Resources:
If you feel you are in an unsafe relationship and would like to talk about options or safety planning please contact:
Mayo Clinic Safe Path: Support provided 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Call 608-398-7804 or visit https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/la-crosse/services-and-treatments/domestic-abuse
Gundersen Lutheran Domestic Violence Program: Support provided 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Call 608-775-5950 or visit https://www.gundersenhealth.org/patients-visitors/social-services/domestic-abuse-and-sexual-assault-program/
Coulee Recovery Center 608-784-4177 or visit http://www.couleecouncil.org/
WiFi / Technology Concerns:
Please reach out to your child’s teacher so that we can work quickly to resolve these concerns.
District Issued Tech Devices Helpdesk:
Please let your child’s teacher know if you have any needs for school supplies.
No bus fare or passes are needed for the MTU in the month of September (free rides!)
IEP case managers will be connecting with parents to ensure that IEP’s address student needs in both a virtual environment and a face to face environment. While school is virtual, if a student, due to their disability, is unable to access or appropriately engage in a special education service virtually, IEP teams will determine how to best meet each student’s needs in a safe manner. Please reach out to your child’s case manager if you have questions about your child’s services or IEP.
Returning to school
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
– Fever (100° or more)
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Muscle or body aches
– New loss of taste or smell
– Sore throat
– Congestion or runny nose
– Nausea or vomiting
When should I stay home?
You should stay home if you:
- Have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Have been tested for COVID-19 (while waiting for results).
- Have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- Have traveled to an area considered a “viral hotbed” (area with widespread transmission of COVID-19).
How long do I need to stay home if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you have symptoms, you should stay at home and away from others as much as possible until all three of the following have happened:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms started and;
- You haven’t had a fever (100° or greater) in at least 72 hours without using any medication to lower fever and;
- Your cough or breathing problems get better.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 but don’t show symptoms?
You should stay home 10 days after the day you were tested and keep away from other people as much as possible. This is because even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still spread the virus.
What if I become sick but test negative for COVID-19?
You should stay home until you are feeling better and you have not had a fever for 24 hours without using any medication to reduce fever.
What is a “Close Contact”?
Close contact with someone with COVID-19 makes you at higher risk for getting sick or spreading COVID-19. Examples of close contact are being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, sharing a drinking glass or eating utensil, physically touching the person or things that may have their germs on them like dirty tissues, or being coughed or sneezed on.
What if I live with someone who has COVID-19?
People who live together usually have close contact with each other. Everyone you live with should stay home until all of the following have happened:
- The sick person gets better:
- At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms started and;
- They haven’t had a fever (100° or greater) in at least 72 hours without using any medication to lower fever and;
- Their cough or breathing problems get better.
- PLUS 14 days have passed since the sick person was better to see if other people in your home get symptoms.
Families and staff with medical questions can contact the COVID-19 line by calling Gundersen Health System 608.775.4450, Mayo Clinic Health System at 507.293.9525, or The La Crosse County Health Department at 608.785.6240.
The school year continues to move forward virtually but the district’s School Nutrition Department is committed to providing nutritious meals to all students within the School District of La Crosse boundaries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an extension of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) throughout the entire school year. This extension allows the district to continue operating meal service similar to how it has been operated since March. The program offers free meals to all children 18-years-old and younger in our community starting immediately.
Breakfast and/or lunch will be provided on school attendance days, Monday through Friday. Families will have the option to pick-up meals or have them delivered. Take a look at the meal pick-up schedule for pick-up times by building.
Meal order forms will be emailed out weekly and must be submitted by noon on Wednesdays to be placed for the following week. Please indicate the number of meals requested along with the building you plan to pick meals up from (you do not need to pick-up meals from the school your student attends).
Meal delivery routes have now been established. If you would like to request meal delivery, please do not complete the order form, but instead, call the School Nutrition hotline number to find out if delivery to your address is available. Your order will be taken over the phone. Deliveries can be expected between 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. daily. Someone must be home to accept the meals. Meals will not be left if no one is home to receive them.
School Nutrition will continue to staff their telephone hotline for those families who are unable to make it to or missed a stop time. Families can call 608.789.5880 for assistance. School Nutrition has a limited number of drivers who will be able to make a delivery stop. The hotline is staffed from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If your student attends a group setting during the school day (YMCA/BGC/NCC/etc.), please do not fill out the meal order form. These programs have their own meal ordering process with the district.
As a reminder, a new order form must be filled out each week. However, only one order needs to be placed per household, not per student.
If you have not completed a Free/Reduced Meal Application for this school year, it is still very important for you to do so. You may request a paper copy of the application by contacting the School Nutrition Office at 608-789-7625 or by logging into your Skyward Family Access account to complete/submit an application online. Here is a link to be routed to the Skyward login screen.
1:1 distribution (types of devices, dates, times, etc.)
K-8 students are issued an iPad 7th Generation device.
Grade K-1 devices are encased in a soft case, Grade 3-8 devices are encased in a Rugged 3 keyboard case.
Each iPad comes with a Logitech Crayon (much like an Apple Pencil). Grades 2-8 students will receive these. It is suggested two keep these with the device.
9-12 Students receive a 13″ MacBook Air
Specific distribution dates and times are determined by each building. Look for information coming from your child’s school soon.
1:1 training/question asking opportunities for families (especially those who have not had a device for a child before)
The technology department in collaboration with the district librarians have developed a resource and support portal for students and families. this resource is located on the school district’s main webpage. The site can be accessed on the left side of the page by clicking the “Tech Support” button. The site is under construction and being refined.
New Learning Management System (LMS) info and basic training
Family and student support resources for Canvas, the new district Learning Management System (LMS) are in development and will be located on the support portal for students and families. This resource is located on the school district’s main webpage. The site can be accessed on the left side of the page by clicking the “Tech Support” button. Teachers are receiving professional development on this new platform in preparation for the school year.
WiFi connectivity issues (How will we determine if families need reliable WiFi for virtual learning? What will we offer and how will we help families access WiFi?
As a district, we are identifying and supporting families that may need internet connectivity for learning. This is part of a new mandatory reporting requirement by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). All families are now asked a series of five questions to ensure connectivity during the update student information process, or the new student enrollment process. Building administrators will receive a weekly auto-generated report and will reach out to families that have self-identified a need for connectivity. Once a need has been verified, the building administrator requests the hotspot and arranges a suitable pick-up time with the family.
Contacts for family tech questions as we go virtual
Outside of the new Student Virtual Support Center Websites located on the District Website by clicking “Tech Support”, the following resources and contact information is available to students and families for school district related devices.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
National Coronavirus updates and travel guidance: http://bit.ly/33bTTic
State of Wisconsin Coronavirus updates: http://bit.ly/2IGkjPZ
La Crosse County Health Department updates: http://bit.ly/33cWKHP
World Health Organization (Helping children cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak): http://bit.ly/2xteh2A