Schools And Businesses Hard Hit Due To Corona Virus Mandates
The Turtle Lake School and a number of Village businesses are becoming victims of the daily COVID-19 mandates being issued by Governor Tony Evers’ office. As of Tuesday classes have been cancelled at school and the food establishments can no longer provide sit-in dining opportunities. Take-out or delivery service is still available.
While education will become an online challenge, Turtle Lake School Superintendent Kent Kindschy, along with Principals Jason Hinze and Troy Wagner, feel they have a handle on the situation.
As of Tuesday afternoon the Turtle Lake school and playground will be closed. From then until April 6, and possibly longer, students will be doing school work online. While there is no longer a 180-day requirement, students in grades 7-12 are required to put in 1137 hours and students in K-6 are required to have 1050 hours of schooling. On Monday the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) waived school district hour requirements during this ongoing public health emergency.
Students are still required to do their work and will earn their credits. Online courses will become the new normal. However, courses such as Ag, Tech Ed, Band, etc. will be an area the district will need to be creative. Mr. Hinze and the teachers are working on ideas for all academic areas.
When questioned about not all students having internet at home, Superintendent Kindschy said 92% of the Turtle Lake students in grades 6-12 have internet at home. “We have four hot spots that students can use and we have another 15 coming,” Superintendent Kindschy said. “Until they receive the hot spots, they can connect to the school guest network or the library internet to download and upload assignments.” A hot spot is a portable wifi router that allows the user to acquire internet access.
Classes are not the only areas that are affected. School plays, concerts, early childhood screening, kindergarten round-up, etc. have had to be postponed or canceled. “It’s hard to make these decisions until we have a re-open date,” Superintendent Kent Kindschy explained.
All athletics have been postponed by the WIAA until schools reopen. The Little Laker Club is also cancelled due to students not being allowed in the building during the closure. However, the Fitness Center will remain open to the public but closed to all students.
Student nutrition has been a big concern. It was noted at a Special Board Meeting Monday evening food will be offered at the school. It must be picked up at door 2 between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m. Recipients must sign up before hand. Students will receive a breakfast and a lunch in a grab and go effort. Additionally, the Backpack Program will continue. Backpacks will be delivered once a week once school is out.
Teachers will have the option of working from home or school during the closure. On Wednesday teachers were at the school for online training. After that they can work from home. Lesson plans are to be uploaded by 9:00 a.m. each day. Teachers will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will have google hangouts from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Getting school work accomplished will be a requirement. If a student goes three days without logging home the school will contact the. Students with IWPs will be accommodated.
While some families do not have printers, Principal Hinze explained a student is able to take a picture of the project and send it in as all classwork will become digital.
During the special meeting it was noted parents do not have to teach their students but they do need to make sure the students are getting their work done and need to know how all of this is going to work.
“I don’t think the community knows that if you travel to level 2 and 3 states and countries, the entire family needs to self-quarantine for 14 days,” Superintendent Kindschy said. “Currently, those states include California, Washington, New York and soon to be added Florida.”
“During this closure, we will need help from parents, grandparents and neighbors to help ensure that education is taking place. Our teaching staff are available via email and phone during normal school hours and people should not hesitate to contact them.”
“The state has requested a waiver from state testing that normally happens in the spring. The longer the closure goes on the more likelihood the waiver will be granted.”
“Northlakes Community Clinic will still be providing therapy services from their clinic.”
With the unknown looming for the forseeable future, one of the biggest questions is graduation and the graduation ceremony. Will it be held or not.
“This will depend on how long the closure is in effect,” Superintendent Kindschy said. “There is a possibility that the closure could run into the summer. This is evolving each hour with more clarification and information coming.”