Grades 5-12 all virtual until Oct. 20 at Prairie du Chien

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By Ted Pennekamp


During the Prairie du Chien School Board meeting Monday evening, Superintendent Andy Banasik told the board that there are 14 positive cases of COVID-19, including nine students and five staff members, in the Prairie du Chien School District.

As of Monday, there were five cases at Bluff View, seven at the high school and two at Mighty River Charter School. There are 98 people within the district who are under quarantine. 

Beginning Monday, Oct. 12, students in grades five through 12 are doing 100 percent virtual learning until Oct. 20.

Banasik said there are six long-term substitute teachers who the district will be interviewing in an effort to help in the face of the COVID pandemic situation.

Each principal spoke to the board about what is going on in their school. High School Principal Paul Weisse said it was a seamless transition to 100 percent virtual learning when the high school went all virtual on Oct. 5. Weisse also said there are a lot of challenges, but the teachers are being creative and helping each other.

“It’s been very impressive,” Weisse said.

Fifth through Eighth-grade Principal Nick Haug thanked the teachers and staff for the “crazy hours” and effort they are putting in. He said it is quite challenging for the teachers to record and teach at the same time while also continuing to check emails to see if students are having trouble logging in.

Hillary Day, principal of second through fourth grade, said school is going well and the teachers are preparing themselves and the students to go 100 percent virtual if they have to.

“Our staff is going above and beyond,” said Day. “They are working lots of hours.” Day also said, however, “If I have another teacher go down, I’m in trouble. I think we would run out of adults first.”

B.A. Kennedy Principal Laura Stuckey said the teachers and students are prepared if something does happen, and that families are being surveyed regarding virtual on demand and live virtual learning.

“The kids have done a super job with their masks,” said Stuckey, who also noted that recording lessons while also teaching can be challenging.

Mike Liddell, the GEDO/Mighty River principal, said Mighty River Charter School has 64 total students, 45 of whom are full-time. He also said students in Alternative Education (grades 9-11) had a struggle at first with logging in on time. However, that situation has now been worked out. There are six students in Alternative Education. 

Liddell said he is frustrated about the GEDO Program because Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is only allowing him to take one student at a time there for academic testing. In the past, Liddell could take five students at a time.

On a brighter note, all of the eight students in the GEDO Program have jobs except one, and that one works with Couleecap, which is like having a  job.

“All of our staff are doing a tremendous job,” said Superintendent Banasik.

High school sports

In other business, the board voted 4-2 to continue with high school fall sports. Sports were suspended from Oct. 5 until the Oct. 12 school board meeting. Nick Gilberts and Cassie Hubanks voted against continuing with fall sports. Board member Duane Rogers was absent. 

Banasik noted that girls golf has concluded their season. He also said boys soccer requested to be played in the spring due to a lack of competition this fall. The request was granted. Football, volleyball and cross country will finish out their seasons. Dance and cheerleading will finish their seasons as well. All athletes still competing will remain in 100 percent virtual learning. All athletes will also be under quarantine for two weeks following their respective seasons. It was noted that some families have gone on hunting trips and other excursions, and upon returning, those students were quarantined for 14 days.

In a statement a few days prior to Monday evening’s board meeting, Superintendent Banasik said, “We’re taking the information and proceeding in an environment nobody expected us to be in our lifetime with a pandemic. The staff is superstars right now by working in two platforms of face-to-face and virtual.  Our staff is teaching students how speed bumps will be a part of our lives, but how do we react when we reach the speed bump in the road? In some trying times, our students and staff have shown resiliency and resolve.”

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