SASD prepares to return to in-person learning next week
The Sparta Area School District (SASD) is currently on track to start school in Orange on Tuesday, January 19, as Monday is already scheduled as a non-school day on the district calendar.
While the district is in orange, students in PreK at Southside Early Learning Center will attend their lessons in building four days a week with half days while kindergartners will attend classes in-building two days a week and will have virtual classes three days a week.
Students at Herrman Elementary will be in the building two days a week and will learn virtually three days a week. At Cataract Elementary PreK will attend half days in building four days a week and K-4 will attend three days virtually and two days in building.
At Sparta Montessori all students PreK-6 will attend school two days each week in the building and will have classes virtually three days each week.
Students at Meadowview Middle School and Innovations STEM Academy will also attend in person classes two days a week and have virtual classes three days a week.
At the high school level, students enrolled at High Point Charter School and SAILS will either be scheduled on an individual basis or for four days a week in building by each individual's credit plan. Students at Sparta High School will attend two days in-building and three days virtual.
As SASD prepares to resume in-person learning in Orange next week, the school board also voted this week to resume in-building in Yellow starting on February 1.
“As we have been planning for going back into cohorts, the more we discuss the more we’re seeing that in terms of staffing, students and everything, staying in Orange for less time rather than more is going to be helpful for everyone,” Superintendent Dr. Amy Van Deuren said.
The CDC as well as the Monroe County Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction have all recommended scaffolding the return to school in some manner to help with mitigation as well as allowing students to adjust.
The change to Yellow means that students in grades PreK through six will be back in school five days per week, while grades 7 through 12 will be in cohorts, attending school in person two days per week with the exception of students in grade six at Innovations STEM Academy who will attend in person four days each week and will be virtual one day each week.
As the district moves forward, administrators are continuing to monitor local COVID conditions even with the district’s ability to manage the spread of COVID within schools, including improved filtration systems district-wide, plexiglass barriers, spaced student and staff workspaces, markings on the floor for physical distancing, cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
Practiced mitigation techniques such as masks, hand washing and physical distancing will also remain in place.
In a letter to district families, Van Deuren wrote, “The safety of our staff and students remains our top priority. As a school community, we will continue to follow the recommended mitigation measures while in building.”
The school board will continue to receive data daily on local COVID conditions. This week, the trajectory of cases remains steady, with a slight increase in average daily cases per 100,000 from 39.61 to 44.74 as Sparta accounts for 53 percent of positive cases.
“I can tell you that walking around in the schools the last couple of days I am seeing that for teachers, there’s a lot of super positives. It’s really good for them to get reacquainted with their rooms, teach the kids virtually from their spaces and see their colleagues,” Van Deuren said. “I think if we keep a steady approach, let kids adjust and keep scaffolding things, we can keep things open.”