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RACINE, WI – Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, students from the Racine Unified School District will start the 2020-21 school year in remote classrooms, at least through the first quarter.

The first quarter starts Sept. 1 and ends Nov. 6. During that time, the district plans to teach 100 percent of its classes remotely via computers. Officials also plan to decide by Oct. 19 on what they plan to do for the second quarter.

The Re-Entry Planning Team — made up of 150 district administrators, community members, and parents — put the plan together. However, they also surveyed parents, guardians, staff, and community members. The district also worked with state and local health departments on the plan.

“Please know that we want nothing more than to bring our students back to school face-to-face and commit to doing so when we know it is a safe decision,” according to a press release by the Racine Unified School District. “Remote learning this spring was delivered in response to a national crisis.

“Our team has thoughtfully planned for a much more robust student learning structure this fall than what your child experienced last spring, and we are working on plans for providing support to families assisting their children with remote learning at home.”

According to the Racine Unified School District’s Smart Start 20202 plan:

  • Students will be taught in a remote format by their school teacher(s) following a defined schedule.
  • Details about instruction will be provided to parents in the coming weeks.
  • Although still closed to the public, teachers and school staff will report to work and teach from their classrooms (except in extenuating circumstances).

To facilitate the remote-learning process, students will receive computers and have access to wi-fi hotspots.

  • Grades 3-12 will receive Chromebooks in August 2020
  • Grades 4K-2 will receive Chrome tablets on/around the end of October 2020
  • Special education students will receive appropriate technology based on their individual needs.
  • 500 wi-fi hotspots currently available, 500 additional hotspots (~3G/month)

In the press release, RUSD superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien said the school district would continue to plan as they learn more about how the virus is spreading.

“We will continue to plan and prepare as thoughtfully and diligently as we can, responding to the latest information, collaborating with our local health departments, and continuing to be flexible and fluid in order to provide our students with the best possible learning experience,” he stated.

Parents can learn more about the school district’s plan for remote classrooms by visiting the frequently asked questions page.

We’ll update this story with more information. Please check back.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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