School Reopening: Gibraltar to Use Threshold Plan
Gibraltar Area School District
Current enrollment: 541 students
What it’s doing: Will open if the Door County COVID-19 activity level is below a certain threshold based on the COVID-19 activity level for Door County. School will begin Tuesday, Sept. 8.
What’s next: The school board is scheduled to meet Aug. 10 and will discuss adjustments to the school handbook regarding COVID-19 plans.
On July 27, the Gibraltar School Board adopted a threshold plan for reopening based on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 activity level for Door County.
Each activity level has a corresponding level of building access for students and staff. Whether students begin instruction in school or at home depends on the activity level.
As of July 27, the COVID-19 activity level was rated as “high.” Based on this rating, Gibraltar would not open for in-person instruction. A three-week period of a “low” rating would be required before the school would open. Students would return to school during that third week.
Each Wednesday, the Department of Health Services updates the current COVID-19 activity level for Door County, and the activity-level rating on Aug. 19 will determine whether school will be open for in-person instruction Sept. 8. If the school building is open for in-person instruction, families may still choose to participate in at-home learning.
The district is currently developing a handbook for operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the school board will review it at its regularly scheduled board meeting Aug. 10 at 7 pm. Once approved, the handbook will be sent to families and will be available on the district’s website.
The handbook will likely contain reopening plans that were proposed at the school’s July 13 school board meeting. Those plans have yet to be approved by the board.
In Gibraltar’s parent survey from early July, 83.9 percent of respondents said they would continue to enroll their children at Gibraltar. If classes were to be held in person but there was a remote learning option, 66.9 percent said they would keep their child(ren) at home under remote learning.
In the tentative reopening plan, each classroom will maintain a six-foot distance between desks.
In the elementary school, Gibraltar has proposed a one-room-schoolhouse concept for each classroom, in which each teacher will have the same students throughout the day.
For the secondary school, Gibraltar has proposed a 10-period, five-day rotation schedule in which staff-to-staff, student-to-student and staff-to-student interaction will be minimized, and instructional time maximized. The intent is to maintain the same course options, and teachers will have the ability to livestream lessons.
Everyone on buses will be expected to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer and follow social-distancing recommendations as well as they can. When practical, windows will be lowered when the bus is in transit to increase air flow throughout the bus. Also, an additional staff member will be placed on every school bus to ensure social distancing and masking. In the parent survey, 50 percent of parents said they would elect to use school busing services.
When in-person classes are a possibility, Gibraltar will require masks for students and staff and will maintain six feet of separation between desks. Gibraltar’s survey indicated that 20.9 percent of responding parents said their child could not comply with the requirement to wear personal protective equipment such as a mask.
School nurses will provide a handwashing curriculum to all teachers to share with their classes. The nurse will also evaluate all students who become ill and take them to an isolation room.
Breakfast will be provided in a grab-and-go format at the beginning of the day, and students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms. Lunches will be individually packaged, with disposable materials for each student.
Events, athletics and activities
Gibraltar is looking into how it can maintain some extracurriculars virtually.
Gibraltar will follow its threshold plan based on countywide activity ratings released each Wednesday.