Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to frequently asked questions our families, students and community members may have regarding the Columbus School District’s plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year. If you have any additional questions, please contact us.
Will students be able to attend in-person classes this fall?
Yes, but we will be offering choice of instructional models for our families. We have a blended cohort model and virtual learning option. We will implement a blended cohort in-person/virtual learning model, with our 4k - 5th grade students attending in person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and virtually on Wednesdays. About half of our 6 - 12th grade students will attend in-person classes on A days, while the other half will learn remotely. The roles would then flip on B days.
Within our buildings, we will implement enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing among students, adjustments to how students enter and exit buildings, and changes to how we manage transitions between classrooms throughout the day.
What will the school day schedule look like in the fall?
For more information on the schedule and the instructional model, please visit: 2020-21 Columbus Instructional Plan.
Will students and staff need to wear masks?
Students and staff will be required to wear masks or cloth face coverings per the governor’s mask order. We are committed to fostering a respectful environment in which there are no stigmas associated with wearing masks and taking other precautions.
How will the district monitor students’ health?
All individuals entering our buildings will be asked to monitor their temperature prior to entering our buildings. Students who are riding the bus to school will also monitor their temperatures before they board the bus. Anyone determined to have a fever will not come to school that day.
Any student or staff member who is feeling ill will be required to visit the school nurse immediately. Our nurses will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The individual in question will remain in an isolation room and will be sent home right away.
I am not yet comfortable sending my child to school. Can I have them continue with virtual learning only this school year?
Yes. We will offer a virtual-only learning option for families who do not yet feel comfortable having their students return to school. To learn more about this option, please contact Becky Schmidt at 920-623- 5950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if my child starts to exhibit flu-like symptoms?
Parents of students exhibiting flu-like symptoms, as well as staff exhibiting flu-like symptoms, are asked to contact the County Health Department in which you reside. Any individual experiencing these symptoms should not come to school and follow the protocols as established here.
How will the district clean buildings, rooms and surfaces to ensure a safe learning environment?
The district will implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols to help keep students, staff and families safe while COVID-19 remains with us. Our custodial staff will significantly increase the wiping down and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day. We will also provide greater access to cleaning materials for our teachers and staff so that they can clean and disinfect spaces, as needed.
Each evening, our custodial team will conduct a thorough cleaning of our spaces, again disinfecting high-touch surfaces like sinks, drinking fountains, door handles, tables and desks. Additionally, the buildings will be deep cleaned every Wednesday while students are learning virtually from home.
Will there be physical education classes?
Yes, physical education classes will be offered at the start of the 2020-21 school year. All efforts will be made to ensure physical distancing takes place during these classes. Physical education instructors will engage students in no-contact sports and activities, while avoiding activities in which students need to be close together.
As a district, we made this decision to help ensure our students continue to get adequate exercise during a time at which a healthy lifestyle can help protect individuals from serious illness.
Will students be able to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities?
Yes, we plan to offer athletics and extracurricular activities in the fall semester. However, activities, practices and schedules may need to be modified to ensure students remain physically distanced and can maintain proper hygiene. Each activity will look a little different, and coaches and advisors will provide more information.
It remains possible that some or all of our athletic seasons may be restricted or shortened. This will depend largely on decisions made by the WI Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Capitol Conference. These decisions are also subject to change during the season depending on the status of COVID-19 in our state and region.
Will the district close schools if a certain number of students or staff report illnesses?
Yes, the district is preparing for situations in which school buildings need to once again close due to a students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or reporting other illnesses. We are also planning for the need to close buildings if there is a considerable increase in COVID-19 cases in our state or region.
Please note that the decision to close schools in our district rests largely on our local and state health departments.
What are the district’s plans for transitioning back to virtual learning if schools need to be closed again in the future?
If full, extended school closures become necessary during the school year, the district will be ready to quickly transition to all virtual learning. While we recognize that the transition last spring was not perfect, we learned a great deal about how to improve the process in the future. Our administrators, teachers and staff continue to make great progress in planning for this scenario.
Please refer to the 2020-21 Columbus Instructional Plan for more details.