Waunakee school-board members approved administrative recommendations for summer school last week, agreeing that the second session should remain virtual with certain exceptions.
“These are my recommendations,” superintendent Randy Guttenberg said at the board’s June 8 meeting, “based on a plethora of conversations that I’ve had with different administrators around our district who are in charge of starting to put these protocols in place.”
The superintendent recommended that all programs for summer’s second session remain virtual, with the exception of Camp Kindergarten and Extended School Year (ESY).
Programs like Camp Kindergarten could not be offered in a virtual format, administrators said.
“It’s kind of a taste for getting to see the building and getting familiar with it,” summer-school director Sheila Weihert said. “Parents would have a choice between a four-day session on July 20-23, or the following week on July 27-30, in the morning or afternoon.”
The summer-school director said communication to parents would be forthcoming.
Another topic addressed at the meeting was summer transportation. Guttenberg noted that transportation is not a mandatory provision for districts in the summer.
“Transportation for summer school is optional for us to provide,” Guttenberg said. “Just given the challenges, the cost and some of the logistics of it, I would recommend that we do not provide transportation this summer.”
Board members agreed with the recommendation.
Administration asked for feedback on other topics, such as policies related to personal protective equipment and wellness checks for students and staff.
The board voiced unanimous support for making face masks mandatory during second session.
“It seems that we have some unanimity – for at least this summer session – on a requirement for face coverings,” President Dave Boetcher said. “These classes are optional. So if some parents find that, for whatever reason they don’t want to do that, you’re not required to go to summer school.”
Wellness checks were discussed at length, with Guttenberg explaining the alternative options that existed for health assessment of students and staff.
“In simplistic terms,” Guttenberg said, “there’s two ways to go. There’s temperature checks at the door, where you take everyone’s temperature. And if it’s above 100.4, they’re not allowed into the school. Then there’s self-reporting, where we do some work with parents.”
Clerk Judy Engebretson asked if either approach would be better from a liability standpoint.
Executive Director of Operations Steve Summers said the district’s insurance company confirmed coverage for “COVID-related topics,” as long as the district followed recommended guidelines.
“With the wellness-check piece,” Summers said, “it’s an either-or situation. As long as we are actively participating in either of those scenarios, we would have coverage. But if a school entity chose to do neither, then there would be liability that exists because we’re not following orders.”
Board members agreed to self-reporting, requesting that thermometers be purchased nonetheless.
“You might as well go ahead and order a couple for each school,” Director Brian Hoefer said. “If we are looking at this as sort of a trial basis, and we have these thermal scanners, we might as well try them out at a school or two just to see what it takes and how long it takes.”
Administration noted the feedback, stating that a plan for in-person summer programs would be presented to the board at its June 22 special meeting.