Sun Prairie schools expect to start year online

The plan would rely on distance learning until at least the 2nd quarter
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 10:06 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Sun Prairie Area School District administrators expect to start the school year entirely online and does not expect any in-school instruction to happen until at least the second quarter, according to a new proposal outlined by the district.

In an email sent to students’ families, Superintendent Brad Saron explained their entire proposal for starting the school year this fall. It includes conducting the entire first quarter using distance learning. Staff will return on August 24 and students will hit their computers four days later.

Even with distance learning, classes will run Monday through Friday. The district intends to divide the students into small groups that will allow for synchronous learning. On Wednesday, school staff wil carve out time for independent online learning activities.

This decision was made in an effort to prepare to deliver mission-grounded instruction to every student, every day,” Saron said. “Indeed, our students deserve our best and most collaborative work this fall.”

District officials plan to stay in contact with Public Health Madison & Dane County to track coronavirus spread, so they can begin to make plans for the second quarter and second semester. Saron noted they expect small groups of students will return to classrooms first to gauge whether it is a “responsible and safe decision” to bring them all back.

Polling parents and staff

Sun Prairie Area School District released the results of an online survey regarding returning...
Sun Prairie Area School District released the results of an online survey regarding returning to class in the fall.(Sun Prairie Area School District)

According to the district, administrators made their plans after taking a survey among parents and staff members about distance learning and how it would affect students’ safety.

“We’ve indicated from the beginning that the safety of our students, families, and staff was of our highest concern,” Saron said.

The poll found that nearly 85 percent of staff members either agreed or strongly agreed that distance learning would be the best way to ensure their safety, with more than half of them strongly agreeing with that statement.

Among parents, just over 60 percent favored distance learning; however nearly a quarter of them strongly believed that proper safety measures could allow for face-to-face instruction.

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