By Dr. John Sample
Merrill Area Public Schools strongly believes that instruction is most effective face-to-face with all parties physically present. We also, however, place student and staff safety as our first priority.
The number of positive COVID cases in Lincoln County are very high at this time. Positive student/staff cases combined with contact tracing require us to quarantine students and staff during this pandemic.
I know that attendance issues are a concern for many parents during this time. I can assure you that our building administrators and office staff are committed to working closely with our parents in the event of an illness-related absence or quarantine situation. Our priority of student achievement takes a backseat to the safety of your children. Please remain in close communication with your child’s school. We only become concerned from an attendance perspective when we have no parent contact and no evidence of student attendance either virtually or face-to-face.
While we value face-to-face instruction, quarantining procedures make it necessary to resort to virtual instruction as the next best strategy. Please refer to the virtual instruction processes and expectations for each building in the event your child must be quarantined.
Classroom Instruction for Quarantines by Building
Pine River School for Young Learners: At PRSYL, students who are sent home under official direction and quarantined by the LCHD will receive daily learning activities through Seesaw.
Kate Goodrich: At Kate Goodrich Elementary School (Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders), students who are sent home under the official direction and quarantined by Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) are provided a mix of SeeSaw and virtual learning. Students access their learning through apps such as SeeSaw, Dreambox, and Google Meets. Classroom teachers are in contact daily with students and/or parents to help facilitate learning while the students are working at home.
Washington: At Washington Elementary School (3rd and 4th Graders), students who are sent home under the official direction and quarantined by LCHD are provided with virtual learning. These students access their Google Meets and participate virtually in the morning meeting, literacy instruction, and math instruction. All other classes, assignments, and activities are provided to the quarantined student through SeeSaw. Students are able to virtually meet with their teachers to ask questions or receive instruction. SeeSaw is used to communicate with the student and family.
Prairie River Middle School: At Prairie River MIddle School, students who are sent home under official direction and quarantined by the LCHD are able to join the live stream Google Meet for all of their core classes and can begin doing that as soon as they arrive home. All classes other than math, science, literacy, and social studies will not be live and students are to follow their instructions within each class’s Google classroom. Students will continue to follow their daily class schedule, attending virtually via the live stream, until they are scheduled to physically return to school. It needs to be stressed, however, that the live stream is only available to students who are required to stay home by the LCHD for a positive COVID test result or quarantine.
Merrill High School: At Merrill High School, students who are sent home under official direction and quarantined by the LCHD are able to join the live stream for all of their classes and can begin doing that as soon as they arrive home. Students will continue to follow their daily class schedule, attending virtually via the live stream, until they are scheduled to physically return to school. It needs to be stressed, however, that the live stream is only available to students who are required to stay home by the LCHD for a positive COVID test result or quarantine.
Our website remains updated and is a valuable source of information from a COVID and district-wide perspective.
We sincerely apologize to those families that were adversely affected by the bussing issues during the first weeks of school. A variety of factors created reactive responses to the challenges we faced rather than the proactive communication you have come to expect. We remain committed to you and will continue to strive to achieve service excellence. Thank you very much for your patience and flexibility, as student safety remains our highest priority.
Please remember to contact bus dispatch should there be any bussing changes for your children.
Industry-wide Food and Driver Shortages
Like most industries, our food industry is facing unique challenges. Currently, there are supply chain issues and a lack of delivery drivers which may result in a reduced number of entree choices available for breakfast and lunch. Menu changes may also result without much advance notice until the supply chain issues are resolved.
Despite these conditions, MAPS, in partnership with Taher, Inc. Food Service Management Company, remains committed to serving quality, nutritious meals to students and staff.
Rest assured that a free breakfast and lunch remains available to all students.
No School Reminder for Monday, Sept. 27
Please remember that Monday, Sept. 27 is a Merrill School Improvement (MSI) Day for the district. Students are not in attendance during our MSI Days. The few MSI Days that we have built into our school calendar are important, as these are professional development opportunities for our staff.
School Board Appreciation Week
Oct. 3-9 is Wisconsin School Board Appreciation Week. Merrill Area Public Schools recognizes the hard work and dedication our School Board members provide each and every day. We appreciate each dedicated member of our School Board and the role they unselfishly assume on behalf of our students and staff. Thank you MAPS School Board!
Thank you and please be safe.
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