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Students returning to building five days per week in March
North Crawford
North Crawford

NORTH CRAWFORD - At a special board meeting held on Monday, March 1, the North Crawford School Board voted to return all district students to five-day-per-week, in-person instruction in March.

The board voted unanimously on a roll call vote, 6-0, for elementary students to return to the building for in-person instruction five-days-per-week effective Monday, March 8.

The board voted 5-1 on a roll call vote, with Jim Dworschack voting no, for middle and high school students to return to the building for in-person instruction five-days-per-week effective Monday, March 22, following spring break.

“It was a productive meeting that was shorter than the prior meeting, and lots of good points were discussed,” Superintendent Brandon Munson said. “We’ve said all along that we would be guided by the science, and Dr. Anthony Fauci as well as the CDC have said that schools are one of the safest places for students to be.”

Munson explained that the district is currently in a very different place from where it was in March of 2020, when the pandemic was brand new.

“We have excellent lines of communication established with Crawford County Public Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services, as well as our own school nurse John Powell,” Munson said. “In addition, we have support to continue all of our public health safety protocols and sanitizing, and our students and staff have experience with the virtual model in a way we didn’t have a year ago.”

Munson said that he monitors the COVID trends in the county and in the district, and is confident that they are in a good place with resumption of full-time, in-person instruction.

Virtual academy

The school board voted unanimously to contract with the Medford School District Rural Virtual Academy to provide a virtual instruction option for families in the North Crawford School District, for the 2021-22 school year. Munson explained that students enrolled in the program will remain North Crawford students, which they hope will avoid issues with open enrollment out of the district and loss of state aid.

“We view this as a win-win for the district that will allow us to avoid a costly investment in developing our own program,” Munson said. “There are over 40 other small, rural school districts that are in a co-op agreement with Medford, and it seems like a good fit for us.”

Munson said that the Medford program was one of the first virtual charter programs to be established in the state, and he stated that he was impressed with their orientation to the needs of small, rural districts as well as by their level of staffing.

“We’ve signed up with them for a one-year trial to see how it goes,” Munson said. “At the end of the year, we’ll evaluate how it went and then decide if we want to enter into a longer-term co-op agreement.”

In other business

In other business, the board:

• voted to modify the school calendar, adding three staff inservice days to replace the time they would have had on virtual Wednesdays. The time will be used to educate elementary teachers about the new elementary literacy curriculum.

• accepted the resignation of Middle School/High School Principal Toby Tripalin, effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year. The Tripalins will be moving out of the district.