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Green Bay school board supports gating criteria to bring students back to class

The lack of uniform guidance from state health leaders prompted the district to set its own criteria.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 11:11 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - On Monday, the Green Bay Area Public School Board supported COVID-19 gating criteria to bring students back to the classroom. 

“There’s a great deal of frustration that we don’t have more guidance, whether it’s at the federal level, the state level, or even our local county level,” said Superintendent Stephen Murley during Monday’s special board meeting. 

District officials have been waiting for more specific COVID-19 gating criteria for schools to come from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

Action 2 News reported last week, DHS came out with more guidelines to help schools prevent, investigate and handle a COVID-19 outbreak at a facility; but little on gating criteria to bring students back to class.  

Right now, district officials know this: “National experts have recommended that grades PreK-5 and in-person special education services at grade levels PreK-8 be given first priority for reopening,” said Murley. 

The lack of uniform guidance from state health leaders prompted the district to set its own criteria. 

Board members unanimously approved two separate metrics based on the COVID-19 case activity burden rate for Brown County. 

The metric to move between the three learning models (virtual, in-person, hybrid) for grades PreK to 5th grade are as follows: 

  • Off-site to blended: <=100 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 
  • Blended to off-site: >100 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 
  • Blended to on-site: <=60 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks.
  • On-site to blended: >60 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 

The metric to move between the three learning models (virtual, in person, hybrid) for grades 6-14 are as follows: 

  • Off-site to blended: <=80 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 
  • Blended to off-site: >80 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 
  • Blended to on-site: <=40 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks.
  • On-site to blended: >40 per 100K population per week, 2 consecutive weeks. 

The district will submit the gating criteria to the Brown County Department of Health and Human Services for review. 

Superintendent Murley says the health department is working on more guidance for schools. 

“I do think we owe it to them and the expertise they have in this arena to give us feedback on what we’re looking at and tell us are we in the horseshoe pit; go ahead it looks fine to me, it might not be exactly what we’re coming up with but close enough, or you’re way outside the pit and whatever you come up with isn’t going to look like what we do. In which case we can come back and reconsider,” said Murley. 

The criteria will be subject to a second reading at the next School Board meeting on September 14. 

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