In-person summer school helps prepare Augusta Area School District

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 8:18 PM CDT
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AUGUSTA, Wis. (WEAU) - Many school districts in western Wisconsin are finalizing their plans as students and staff are set to return to school in the coming days.

One school district in the area has already had kids and teachers in the classroom this summer and is using that experience to help this school year.

In the Augusta Area School District, it was six weeks of in-person summer class for around 200 students plus staff and zero confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Now officials in the district say they're ready to take what they learned during the summer and apply it to the real school year in just a few days.

In early May, the district started planning for how an in-person summer school would look.

“We just kind of abruptly ended our school year last year so they were excited to see each other. They needed that social interaction and plus we have a good portion of our district that maybe doesn’t have internet access so we wanted to make sure summer school, that those opportunities were available for everybody,” said Augusta Area School District Summer School Coordinator Teri Hoff.

Over six weeks in July and August, 125 elementary students and 75 middle and high school students came to summer school.

It was a chance for the district to put their plans into action.

That included face coverings for students and staff, extra PPE such as dividers in offices, and smaller class sizes combined with extra cleaning.

“We have a good feel in all of our areas from transportation to food service to classroom instruction to handling any possible outbreaks. We do feel, I guess, as equipped as possible in having that experience,” said Augusta Area School District Superintendent Dr. Ryan Nelson.

Hoff is getting ready to welcome her 4th grade class back on Friday.

She says going through summer school has made her more confident ahead of the school year after seeing what worked well.

“As I’m getting ready for my fourth graders to come this week, I’m feeling more relaxed than I was when we started summer school,” said Hoff.

While there were zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the district over summer school, Nelson says there are some protocols that are being tweaked ahead of the year.

Such as additional PPE equipment being ordered and giving lanyards to students so they don't lose their masks.

He says for other districts, just trust the work that has been put in.

“Rely on the time and effort that you put into your planning and trust that process. Obviously like anything there is going to be adjustments that need to be made, but I think if you can trust the work that you did in advance of this to ensure that everybody is prepared for that is probably the most crucial step,” explained Nelson.

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