Wauwatosa School Board Approves Medical Advisory Panel’s Metrics, Recommendation to Continue in Hybrid Model

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Sara Stanislawski

The Wauwatosa School Board Meeting August 24th consisted of a Hybrid Model with some attending in person and others connecting via the video conferencing platform Zoom.

Sara Stanislawski, Editor

The Wauwatosa School Board approved the district’s Medical/Public Health Advisory Panel’s recommendation to continue the school year in the Hybrid Model of the Phase into Learning through October 2nd, 2020 in a 5-2 vote at the Wauwatosa School Board Meeting on August 24th. The School Board also approved a set of metrics developed by the Advsiory Panel to guide the Panel’s recommendations for the Model of Instruction. 

Graphic included in the Medical/Public Health Advisory Panel’s presentation illustrating metrics used by Panel when recommending the Model of Instruction.

The approval came after a presentation by members of the Advisory Panel explaining the metrics and recommendation, Board discussion, and community comment. Following the vote, district staff and administration provided an update on the School Reopening Plan, and further Board discussion and community comment occurred. 

The approved metrics consist of a set of standards to be met by school and community data regarding the current local spread of COVID-19 and will be used to guide recommendations during the biweekly determination of the Model of Instruction for Phase Into Learning. The possible Models of Instruction for Phase Into Learning include Virtual, Hybrid, or full in-person Classroom Learning. 

Students enrolled in the Phase into Learning Option will follow a Hybrid Model from September 8th through October 2nd. In the Hybrid Model, students will be assigned to cohorts attending school in-person 2 days per week and virtually learning at home 3 days per week to reduce in-person class sizes by approximately 50%. Some School Board members expressed concern with the date being unknown as to when student cohort assignments to Cohort A or Cohort B will be available for families. 

For the first week of school beginning September 8th for students in Phase Into Learning, student orientation will occur by cohort assignments with Cohort A attending class in-person on Tuesday and Wednesday while Cohort B is off. Cohort B will then attend orientation in-person Thursday and Friday while Cohort A is off. 

For the second week of school beginning September 14th, Cohort A will attend class in-person Monday and Tuesday while Cohort B learns virtually completing asynchronous, independent work. On Wednesday, all students will learn virtually, staff will collaborate and have prep time, and deep cleaning of schools will occur. On Thursday and Friday, Cohort B will attend class in person and Cohort A will learn virtually. This schedule will continue for the weeks of September 21st and September 28th. 

For Tosa Connected, a virtual learning option taught by Wauwatosa School District staff, the district intended to offer daily synchronous virtual learning. However, the district was not able to find a viable staffing solution to make this possible. Instead, students enrolled in the Tosa Connected Virtual option will also be assigned to cohorts. During the Hybrid Model of Instruction, students in Tosa Connected will have the same cohort schedule as students in Phase Into Learning but will learn 100% virtually. Tosa Connected students will learn virtually 5 days per week with 2 days consisting of live synchronous lessons and 3 days involving asynchronous, independent learning.

Graphic included in Medical/Public health Advisory Panel’s presentation displaying the current community data and metrics guiding their recommendation for the Hybrid Model at the August 24th School Board Meeting.

During the meeting, School Board members expressed concerns with the workload of staff who will be teaching students both in the Hybrid Model of Phase Into Learning in the classroom and synchronous Tosa Connected classes, while also planning for students completing asynchronous work virtually.

A decision on the Model of Instruction for Phase Into Learning beginning October 5th is expected to be made on the September 28th Board Meeting based on the Advisory Panel’s recommendation informed by school and community metrics and data. 

A recording of the August 24th Wauwatosa School Board meeting can be found on the district’s YouTube channel