Madison schools to resume in-person classes for younger students next month

The district plans to have Kindergarten resume in-person in March.
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 9:07 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Metropolitan School District unveiled a reopening plan on Wednesday morning for its youngest students to start returning to in-person learning. According to the district, kindergartners will head back to the classroom on March 9, with first and second-graders joining them the next week and 4K students the week after that.

  • Kindergarten (March 9th);
  • Grades 1-2 (March 16th);
  • 4K (March 23rd)

In revealing the schedule, Superintendent Carlton Jenkins notes when the students come back, it will have been nearly a year since they were last inside a schoolhouse.

“As a school community, we have come a long way, and remain committed to providing the safest learning spaces possible by continuing to adhere to our safety protocols; and implementing multiple layers of prevention and mitigation measures specifically developed to keep students and staff safe,” he explained.

The district also plans to move its virtual asynchronous days, which had been held on Wednesdays, to Monday for all K-12 students starting March 8, a day before kindergartners are set to return.

The plan for older students has not been set yet and the district says it will make a determination for them at a later date.

Parents have a mixed response to the switch to in-person learning.

Andrea Land says her 8-year-old struggles with virtual instruction and she’s thrilled to be able to send him back soon.

“What we saw in him was anxiety, frustration, and a lot of anger,” said Land. “It’s just hard as a parent to watch your child go through that when there should be so much more on their mind.”

Jennifer Talbot says she’s more hesitant to return her son Porter to the classroom.

“I’m kind of for it and against it at the same time,” Talbot said.

She says her biggest concern is her own health, as she is at high-risk because of her asthma.

“It’s basically one of those things where I’m more concerned of his risk of picking it up and bringing it home,” said Talbot. “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that teachers can get vaccinated and that I can be a part of that category too. Then, I feel safe sending him back.”

MMSD says parents will have the option to keep their children home, if that’s the decision that’s best for their family.

“One of the things we understand is we have different situations in our community,” said Jenkins. “We have different family dynamics.”

The district will use the concurrent model which means teachers will teach both in-person and online simultaneously.

“It ensures that we are providing equitable instruction by not creating two different experiences based on if they student is virtual or if they are in person,” said Carlettra Standford, the MMSD Chief of Elementary schools.

Administrators say they visited other schools within Dane County to observe what safety practices other districts were implementing.

The district will host a Facebook live to provide more details to parents on Thursday at 6 p.m.

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