807 East Avenue South | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608.789.7600

March 20, 2020 district communication

LA CROSSE, Wis., (March 20, 2020) – Hello School District of La Crosse Parents and Guardians. I wish to thank each of you for your flexibility and support during this time that our nation is confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. According to state officials, Wisconsin schools are closed ‘indefinitely’ or ‘until the end of the health emergency.’ Our staff and administration are working diligently under circumstances that are quickly changing. What is shared today, may change by the time you are done reading this communication. The purpose of this message, however, is to maintain contact with you and provide an update on our school district’s efforts during this time.

The District is leveraging federal food service provisions which allow school districts to distribute free breakfasts and lunches to individuals 18 and younger. In partnership with our transportation provider, GoRiteway, we have established more than 30 sites in our community where meals will be provided Monday through Friday. Click this link to find the delivery times and the site nearest to your school.

While we are committed to maintain contact with our students and our families by continuing the learning efforts, we are wanting to do everything we can to support you. If you have questions or a need that we can work on for you, complete this form, and we will work diligently to resolve any challenges you may be facing.

During this extended school closure, we want to ensure families and students that our student services staff are available to provide support to students and families during this challenging time.  If you or your child is in need of support, please reach out by email to your child’s school counselor, social worker, or school psychologist. Staff are monitoring email regularly and will follow up as soon as possible. In the meantime, you may find your child has many questions about what is going on in the world. We have found these guidelines to be a good source of suggestions for talking with children about COVID-19.

By now, it is likely that you and/or your child has had at least one contact with a teacher or school staff member. Thank you for your patience as we strive to ensure that the number of contacts or the work that we are recommending for students is not overwhelming. As a follow up to the message I sent on March 14, I wanted to provide the following clarification. The School District of La Crosse remains committed to ensuring that we provide the best continuity in learning opportunities as we possibly can. To this point, our first approach to this mandated time away from school is to make sure that our students and staff and families and community are safe. At the same time, we are doing what is necessary to begin more formalized online instruction. We have not abandoned our curriculum. Our teachers are connecting students with activities and assignments that are consistent with their classroom curriculum. Teachers are allowed to provide feedback on student work. Students can work with their teachers on prior gaps in learning as well.

To fully prepare our system for a credit-earning learning environment, we are 1) working to ensure that all students have reasonable access to WiFi, 2) addressing the online learning environment for every child with an Individualized Education Plan, and 3) providing the resources and supports necessary for our instructors to deliver instruction and assessments in an online environment. This may take several days, but I want to assure you that we are making progress on all three of these fronts.

Like you, I wish we had more answers than questions at this time. All of our employees are working very hard to respond as quickly as possible to the ever-changing dynamics of this situation, and we are also doing our best to anticipate what changes may be coming. I think it is likely that school closure will extend at least toward the end of April. I think it is possible that school may be cancelled for the rest of the school year. If, and when, these decisions are made for us, we will in turn respond with what we feel is the best course of action for our staff, our students, our families, and our community.

Thank you again for your support and understanding.

Randy Nelson

Superintendent of Schools