Wheatland Center School to move to all virtual learning Nov. 20-Dec. 7

Wheatland Center School will move to the all virtual learning starting Nov. 20 with a return to face-to-face learning Dec. 7.

The Wheatland J1 School District Board approved the move Wednesday after a presentation on the school’s status from district administrator Marty McGinley.

“The board decided to take a proactive approach rather than wait until we had to shut down due to staffing shortages,” McGinley said. “By using the planned days off around Thanksgiving and extending the break for a week we are able to get a full 14 day reset for staff and students.”

The district was initially going to start virtual learning Monday, but moved it to Friday after multiple staff absences Thursday.

Last week, Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit said she is strongly recommending that all schools within the county — K-12, colleges and universities — switch to virtual instruction only between Nov. 23 and Jan. 4. The recommendation comes in the wake of mounting cases of COVID-19 here.

Western Kenosha County school boards have been meeting to decide whether to follow the recommendation since then.

Following is the text of a letter sent to district families this morning with more details:

Good Morning Wheatland Families,

When we began planning for this year, we knew a point may come where we would need to transition to virtual instruction for a period of time. Several grade levels have already made this adaptation due to quarantining or staffing shortages. At last night’s meeting the board approved a plan to transition all grades to virtual for two weeks in order to mitigate the health and safety risk to students and staff, assist with critical staffing shortages, lessen community exposure, and reduce the potential impact from the Thanksgiving holiday. The Wheatland J1 School District will be transitioning to virtual instruction starting tomorrow Friday, November 19rd through Friday December 4th. Students will resume their regular in person schedule on Monday December 7th.

We currently have significant staffing shortages in critical areas due to quarantines, and current cases. We had hoped to be proactive rather than wait for the notification that puts us over the tipping point, however, this morning brought additional positive cases. This reset will allow all students and staff a full 14 day quarantine, and we will be able to resume with face to face instruction on December 7th. We have continued to program for all students virtually in preparation for such a time. We feel confident in our planning and preparation. While it is our goal to have face to face instruction when safe and practical, we believe in our virtual platform and the expertise of our teachers.

You will receive information from both Mr. Halbesma and your child’s teacher regarding the logistics of this change. We will continue to provide food service in our current format starting again on Monday. In addition, we will have a plan to distribute technology to students in grades 1-8 that do not already have it.

Please know that we will continue to work hard to keep students in school as we attempt to make decisions in the best interest of the entire Wheatland learning community. Please follow safety protocols over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We are truly at a critical point in our state and county and your adherence to guidelines may impact further closures. Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Marty McGinley

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