Shawn Doerfler

Shawn Doerfler

Amery Schools have worked hard to “stay in the green” since returning to school this fall. This refers to a color-coded chart the school implemented at the beginning of the school year to show how COVID-19 numbers would predict the pupil’s learning environment. Last week saw the schools jump from green to red, with no stop in the yellow section of the guide.

A November 13 release from District Administrator, Dr. Shawn Doerfler, said since school closed in March, the School District of Amery has been focused on reopening schools for face-to-face learning. “We are thankful that we not only reopened our schools in September but that we also spent the last three months educating your children. Every day with your children has been a blessing for our staff,” said Doerfler.

The district goal is to safely return to in-person school. Doerfler said, “There is work ahead of us to achieve this goal. We have attempted to do all we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we have been quite successful. Most of the district cases of COVID-19 were not contracted or spread at school.”

The yellow category on the school’s chart would have seen the students divided into two groups. One group would attend in-person learning at the schools Mondays and Tuesdays and learning remotely the rest of the week. Group two would learn remotely Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They would attend in-person classes Thursday and Friday.

The district looks at Polk County and district positive COVID-19 numbers every other week and determines how learning will be handled starting the following Monday. Numbers in the county and district since the start of the school year have been as follows:

• Sept. 2-15: 39 cases in Polk County / 0 cases in the District

• Sept. 16-29: 51 cases in Polk County / 2 cases in the District

• Sept. 30-Oct. 13: 104 cases in Polk County / 1 cases in the District

• Oct. 14-27: 211 cases in Polk County / 5 cases in the District

• Oct. 29-Nov. 11: 540 cases in Polk County / 20 cases in the District

• Nov. 12-24: 404 cases in Polk County / 27 cases in the District (THUS FAR)

Numbers over the past two weeks rose high enough in Polk County and in the district to put students in a “red” totally remote learning environment. A November 10 release from the district said, “Unfortunately, we have been forced to quarantine dozens of staff and hundreds of students. As a result, there is a severe shortage of staff to perform the essential duties of educating our students, and there are increasing attendance issues in all four school buildings.”

All students 4K-12 moved to a remote learning model Monday, November 16.

One difference between March, April, and May and now is that all staff will be reporting to school for remote instruction.

Doerfler said, “All teachers will be teaching from their classrooms, not at home. This will give teachers the proper access to technology that they might not have at home.”

Doerfler said educators are much more prepared for virtual learning this time around as they have had much more time to prepare than they were given last spring.

Each school building is providing students with instructional materials (virtual and in print) for all remote learning days.

Meal pick up was offered to all families

There will be no practice or competition for winter sports teams while schools are in a remote model. Due to COVID-19 spread, the High School football team did not participate in the November 13 playoff game against Prescott.

All after school and Community Education activities have been canceled for the weeks of November 16 and 23.

“The window we are in ends on November 24. The next determination of our learning plan (in-person, hybrid, or remote) will be on Wednesday, Nov. 25,” Doerfler said.

Even though pupils are not physically in school for a few weeks, the district still needs to know if your children:

• Are symptomatic for COVID-19

• Have been tested for COVID-19

• Have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

• Are in quarantine due to COVID-19

Failure to report this information will create an unsafe school environment when school returns to in-person learning. Report to Linnae Seaman at 715-268-9771 ext. 265 or email seamanl@amerysd.k12.wi.us.

Visit the ‘Stay in School’ page of the district website where you can view the updated school and county data, the Learning Model Transition Plan, and a number of helpful resources regarding COVID-19: https://www.amerysd.k12.wi.us/parents/stay_in_school_plan_2020.cfm

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