A Note from the District on our Return to School on January 4, 2022

Dear Shorewood Staff and Families,

Classes at all schools will resume on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.  We look forward to welcoming students and staff back to classrooms. We hope you have had a restful and enjoyable winter break.

The Omicron strain of COVID has created a unique and challenging situation for all of us. Below are some updates about plans for return following Winter Break.  Please keep in mind that the pandemic and current circumstances can change very rapidly.  We may need to modify the plans below if circumstances warrant.

School Will Be In Person

We will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, January 4. 

Excused Absences

Learning materials will continue to be made available on Google Classroom and Seesaw for students who are unable to attend school or whose families request an option to forgo in-person learning due to concerns with Omicron. Through January 14, absences will be excused, if requested, if this option is selected. This option will also help students who may be in quarantine.  Caregivers and students should communicate directly with teachers regarding details about learning materials, assignments, due dates, and grading.

Please note that due to the unique nature of some courses, learning materials for all subject areas may not be available using web-based platforms.  To be clear, this is not virtual learning or live streaming; this option will provide students with the opportunity to complete key classroom assignments on material being covered during two weeks following Winter Break. Students are responsible for completion of the work, but please know that teachers are prepared to be flexible to allow for completion of the work.  Materials will begin to be made available no later than Thursday, January 6, 2022.

If you elect to keep your student(s) home:

  • Please call your school attendance line and indicate that you are requesting an excused absence;
  • Provide the end date of the absence (no later than Friday, January 14, 2022);
  • If you request this option, and your child does not have device at home, please indicate this when you call in and we will then make arrangements for you to pick this up;
  • Contact your student’s teacher directly via email regarding any questions about assignments/class work in SeeSaw/Google Classroom.

Please be aware this option does not replicate in-person instruction. Our teachers’ primary focus will be on in-person learning. This does provide an option for families with concerns about a return to school at this time. 

Our Layered Mitigation Strategies

We will continue to use the District’s layered mitigation strategies (masking, social distancing, increased ventilation, air purifiers, hand washing, sanitizing, etc.).  These strategies have been highly effective in limiting the spread of the virus within the District.  It will be especially important that masks are worn correctly (covering both the mouth AND nose) at all times while indoors. This will be a priority as we return to school. Your assistance with reinforcing this is greatly appreciated.  More information on mitigation is available in the attached FAQs.

CDC Changes Not Yet Adopted in Wisconsin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance about the length of time that positive but asymptomatic individuals need to isolate. However, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has not adopted those changes or sent school guidelines.  That may change, and we are working closely with the North Shore Health Department to understand how that would impact our schools moving forward. For now, the state’s guidance is still that positive individuals (students and staff) should isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Quarantine protocol for unvaccinated close contacts will remain the same as well.   We will update the community should there be any changes to the District’s quarantine or isolation procedures based on new guidance from state and local health departments.

Your Actions Make a Difference Regarding in-Person for Learning

The school district needs your partnership to control the spread of COVID-19 and remain in person for learning. Keeping our schools open is in the best interest of our students, and it depends on every single community member following proven safety protocols:

  • Stay home if you are experiencing symptoms. Use the COVID Self-Screener to monitor symptoms and do not come to school if you are ill. This is key to mitigating the spread in our schools. 
  • Seek testing. View the District’s testing option here. View the list of community testing locations here. This list is not exhaustive or endorsed; availability may be limited due to the current surge in cases. More test sites can be found at testupmke.com.
  • Follow the 3 Ws. Wear a high quality mask. Watch your social distance. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.
  • We encourage all eligible to get vaccinated and, if age 16 or older, boosted.

While COVID-19 continues to present ongoing challenges for everyone, our school community has been remarkable in continuing to put the needs of our students first. We are grateful for your continued support and partnership.  We hope you find this information helpful as we return to school following Winter Break.

Please also check out our expanded FAQs concerning our return to school on January 4, 2022.  Additionally, principals will be sending out school-specific information.  After reading this, if you have further questions, please contact your school principal or the District office. 

Sincerely,

Dr. JoAnn Sternke
Interim Superintendent