Coronavirus: What you need to know

Last Updated: 9/11/2020 7:23 PM

Coronavirus: What you need to know

New COVID-19 Resources

September 11th, 2020
2:00 pm

Fall Sports spectator guidelines

 

August 31th, 2020
2:00 pm

Letter to Parents                             Student Home Self Screen Checklist              Cloth Face Covering Guidelines                    CDC Instruction for mask cleaning            

FACEMASK Info

August 28th, 2020
1:00 pm

                                Board of Education Letter                            Student Face Covering Form                                Admin Rule JFCA

 

2020-2021 Return to School Plan

 

August 18th, 2020
2:00 pm

                             7-12 Instructional Plan Overview                                                           Florence Elementary Instructional Choice Overview

                             MS/HS Return to School Protocol                                                          Florence Elementary Re-Opening Plan 2020-2021

                             7-12 Instructional Plans/Guidelines                                                     Florence Elementary Plan A: In Person

                                                                                                                                                     Florence Elementary Plan B: Full-time Virtual          

                                                                                                                                                     Florence Elementary Dropoff/Pickup Information

 

                                                                                          Student Transportation Information/Forms

                                                                                          Student Self Screener Information for Parents

 

 

August 6th, 2020
4:00 pm

The Board and Administration have created a first-semester reopening plan for the new school year; this plan will provide for both in-person and virtual instruction per survey results. A second-semester plan will be addressed after our return this fall. Information on the plans is detailed in the video and presentations below. Online registration and how to sign up for these plans will come in the next few weeks.

Message from the District Administrator Ben Niehaus

Return to School Presentation

COVID-19 Pandemic Presentation

 

 

Student Return to School Survey

August 4th, 2020
1:00 pm

The Board and Administration are considering a first-semester reopening plan for the new school year; this plan will provide for both in-person and virtual instruction per survey results. A second-semester plan will be addressed after our return this fall. We value your opinion and would appreciate if you would take a minute and provide us feedback by completing the following survey.  We are asking parents to complete the survey by 3:00pm August 5th, 2020.

 

 

April 24th, 2020
5:00 pm

Parents of students in Grades 7-12:

Thank you for your support in our Virtual Learning format.  Please remind your student(s) to check their school emails and reply if necessary, along with their Google Classrooms.  Also, remind them to be present during instruction and that the assessments need to be completed for credit and grade promotion.  

Thank you,
Brandon Jerue
7-12 Principal 
School District of Florence County
Phone: 715-528-3215 ext. 1201

April 7th, 2020
12:00 pm

Dear Florence Elementary School Students and Parents:

Wednesday, April 8 from 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM, and again on Thursday, April 9 from 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM student's parents may come to the elementary school for curbside pickup of their child’s needed technology or any other essential learning materials. Lockers are not being cleaned at this time - if there is an essential item needed from a locker, please email Holly Krueger at kruegerh@myflorence.org or call the elementary office 715-528-3262 and leave a message. Holly will get back to you to arrange a time for you to pickup that item. We appreciate your requests only for essential items, and there surely will be a time in the near future to empty lockers.

Please pull into the bus loop upon arrival at the elementary school. Please pull up in front of cafeteria windows. If a staff member is not already outside, please wait patiently for them. They will approach your passenger window; simply roll down, they will identify who you are, and will radio in for another staff member to bring your child’s items out - please feel free to hold up a sign with your name(s) for quicker service. This individual will then hand the bag to you so you can pull it through your window. 

This process will have very specific expectations, and even with these limitations, we’re optimistic the process will proceed efficiently through the course of the day.

 * Per the CDC’s guidelines issued Friday, April 3, we recommend any individual who is able to wear a face mask or other covering over one’s mouth and nose if you are going to sustain any conversation with a staff member, even if  you are beyond the minimum 6’ requirement.

                       Staff members will have face masks and gloves on.

Your patience and understanding is appreciated as always as we do our best to assure the safety of both you and our employees in supplying your essential needs for instruction.

Sincerely,

Ben NIehaus, District Administrator

 

April 6th, 2020
1:45pm

Dear Florence High School 7-12 Grade Students and Parents:

Tuesday, April 7 from 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM, students or a parent/guardian will be allowed to enter the school for pick-up of any needed essential learning items not yet in hand. Lockers are not being cleaned at this time, and students will only be allowed to their lockers for an essential instructional item or other personal belonging that is essential.

This process will have very specific expectations, and even with these limitations, we’re optimistic the process will proceed efficiently through the course of the day.

  • Only ONE student or parent will be allowed into the building at any one time. Upon sanitizing hands prior to entrance, please enter the doors nearest the high school office. Upon entrance please stay at the check-in table immediately upon entrance. From here, a staff member stationed at another table will retrieve your items, or accompany you to your locker or any classroom for pickup of needed items (a minimum distance of 6’ is to be kept at all times). 

* Per the CDC’s guidelines issued Friday, April 3, we recommend any individual who is able to wear a face mask or other covering over one’s mouth and nose while in the building.

Staff members will have face masks and gloves on.

  1. If you are just picking up an item that is already in the main hallway, a staff member will retrieve the item and place it on a table nearest the elevator. Upon the staff member returning to their station, you can move to the table and pick up your item and exit the building through the vestibule doors nearest the elevator.

  1. If you must proceed to a locker or classroom, you will be escorted by a staff member. You will then be escorted back to the vestibule for exit.

  • Lines should be single file on the sidewalk upon entrance to the building, with a minimum of 6 feet in spacing, preferably more.

If you are not comfortable entering the building, and your items can be retrieved in advance, simply email both Mrs. Secrist, Mr. Jerue and Mr. Niehaus of your expected pick up time with identification of your car by make/model and color - please do your best to adhere to this time. Please pull up directly to the curb in front of the main high school entrance. We will watch for your arrival and bring your items out to you and place them in your car for you.

Your patience and understanding is appreciated as always as we do our best to assure the safety of both you and our employees in supplying your essential needs for instruction.

Elementary Pickup Instructions will be coming later this week.

Sincerely,

Ben Niehaus, District Administrator

 

April 6th, 2020
12:00pm

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Starting April 6th, 2020 the School District of Florence County will be delivering meals to the houses of families who have signed up for this service. This service is available free of charge to any student 18 and under. If you have not signed up and wish to sign up please visit our website www.myflorence.org then click on the COVID-19 tab and complete the survey. This survey will remain open.  If you have a change of circumstances you may sign up at any time. The cut off time for the following week is Wednesday night at midnight the week prior. You do not need to sign up every week. Once you have signed up you are enrolled in the program. If you wish to stop receiving meals please call (715) 528-3262, or email Holly Krueger at kruegerh@myflorence.org. 

We are asking families to place a cooler by your door for the food drop.  There has to be visible contact through a window or door with the runner, or food will not be dropped off.  We are expecting food delivery to be between 10:00-12:00 every weekday. Next Thursday, April 9th, will be a double delivery, as there will be no food delivery the following day on Good Friday.

We want you to know that the utmost care has been taken in the preparation and delivery of your child’s meal, and will continue as we embark on our new method of daily delivery to each participating household.

Upon staff entering the kitchen for food prep, staff members will scrub in similar to that of medical professionals. This is a more thorough process than the 20-second recommendation we, as citizens, are using daily.

Staff will put on gloves and will wear masks while preparing any exposed food items. All staff will be spaced a minimum of six feet apart during their time.

Food items will be placed in a cooler (that will be sanitized). A support staff member, who also will have appropriately washed their hands, will take possession of the cooler and place the coolers in the car. The only person handling the food items will be the runner from the car.

Upon return to the kitchen, each cooler will be sanitized again, inside and out, prior to being brought into the kitchen the next day to prepare for the next delivery.

It is our priority to assure the safe preparation and delivery of each meal we provide while assuring our staff who commit to preparing these meals are safe also.

Lunch Survey

Sincerely,


Ben Niehaus, District Administrator

Updated April 3rd, 2020
05:00 pm

Dear Florence County Middle/High School Community,

First and foremost, we hope that everyone is safe and healthy during the COVID-19 Health Emergency.  Over the past weeks there have been a lot of changes regarding the school closure with the addition of the Safer at Home order.  The extension of the closure has resulted in school staff developing a plan to continue education using virtual platforms. We fully understand the extra burdens that the health emergency has placed on families.  With that understanding, we have developed plans that provide students with the essentials to be prepared for graduation or to progress to the next grade level when this emergency is lifted while not adding unnecessary burdens. Right now, in this uncertain time, students need to feel ok, most important their physical and emotional health.  If you are struggling with this and need resources please contact Sara Foster at fosters@myflorence.org  If you have any other questions, please contact Brandon Jerue at 715-528-3215 or jerueb@myflorence.org

Taking in to account the extra burden this will have on our families we have decided to start online learning first at our MS/HS.  There will be more information to come about device distribution for our elementary students and the start of their online learning sometime in the next week. Please watch for this notice.

Material Pickup

Students and/or parents may come to the school April 7th from 11:00 am-6:00pm to pick up necessary materials  The following is a list of what you will need:

  • Chromebook

  • Textbooks/Materials for the following teachers:

Seniors can pick up their chocolate orders

Mr. Beck - Woods Book, Drafting Book

Mr. Knox - Band Instruments and Folders (High School percussionists will have equipment to pick up too), Drivers Education Book and Notebook with any Notes

Mrs. Smith - World History Novel

Mrs. Kellstrom - High School Choir Folders

Mrs. A. Johnson - 8th Grade Civics Book

Ms. King - Spanish Binder and Dictionary

Mr. Lambert - Physical Science, Human Anat./Phys.

Mrs. Land - High School Art Sketch Books

Ms. Mohelnitzky - 8th Grade Hand Sewing To Go Packets, Beg. Sewing - SewingTo Go Packets

Mrs. McLain - First Hour NWTC Excel will need their workbooks in my classroom.

Mrs. J. Johnson - English 9:  Laurie Halse Anderson's novel, Speak, English 11: John Steinbeck's, The Pearl, English 12: William Golding's,  Lord of the Flies

  • These materials will be on a table at the entrance with Mrs. Roberts

 

Grades 7-12

Students will receive instruction via Google Classroom and BlueJeans.  Teachers will share a link with you via Google Classroom that you will use to join BlueJeans sessions.  Teachers are going to be connecting with classes according to the schedule below on April 8th and April 9th as a trial run.  This will allow them to connect with students, explain expectations, and discuss instructional delivery.  This will also allow us to test how the technology is working. So, please participate in these meetings. Instruction is scheduled to begin on April 13th.  The framework for instruction is as follows:

 

Class Schedule 9:00-11:00am 1 hour per class This will be a scheduled time for teachers to be available to students.  We realize that students may not be able to join at these times due to family obligations or unforeseen technology issues.  All BlueJean sessions will be recorded and available for students in the instructor’s Google Classroom. 

Weekday

9-10 a.m.

10-11 a.m.

Monday

1st hr.

2nd hr.

2nd hr. 8th Grade F&CE

Tuesday

3rd hr.

3rd hr. 7th Grade PE

4th hr.

Wednesday

6th hr.

MS. 6th hr. Day 1

7th hr.

7th hr. Choir/Show Choir

Thursday

8th hr.

8th hr. 8th Grade Computer

MS 6th hr. Day 2

Friday

2nd hr. 8th Grade Tech Ed.

3rd hr. 7th Grade Computer

HS 7th hr. PE

3rd hr. 7th Grade Computer

Drivers Education

8th hr. 8th Grade PE

More time may be needed for Dual Enrollment classes

  • Set up by individual class

 

Office Hours

Teachers will have posted office hours (2 hours daily), outside of the instruction time, Monday-Friday.  They will also be available during the normal school day hours, or by appointment, for students to ask questions, get help, and for reteaching of material.  Students can communicate with them via:

  • Google Classroom

  • Email

  • Request a Virtual meeting

Student Expectations 

  • Be present during instructional time using Chromebooks

  • Stay seated in view of the camera

  • Remain silent while others are  talking during instruction

  • Use only electronic devices required for class.  Turn cell phones off.

  • Complete assessments according to set deadlines

    • Assessments are to be turned in via Google Classroom, unless requested otherwise by your teacher

  • Communicate with staff with questions and needs

  • Check your grades in Skyward

  • Positively engage in class.  This is in regards to participation, discipline, and assessment completion.  Negative behaviors may have an effect on course completion.

  • Check school email and Google Class for communication from teachers and Mr. Jerue

 

Video Conferencing Etiquette 101

As we start this new way of learning we want you to keep in mind some online etiquette to make this experience a success.  Please take a minute to discuss these with your children. 

Technical Support

1. Log a repair request on www.myflorence.org, student, student device repair request form.

2. Email chartierm@myflorence.org with your name, best contact number and the issue that you are having. 

 

 

Updated March 29th, 2020
07:00 pm

Dear Florence Families,

As of April 6th,2020 the School District of Florence County will be providing breakfast and lunch (M-F) to any student that wishes to receive it delivered to their door.  A survey has been emailed out to all families and a copy of the survey is located on our website.  We are asking families to take a minute and fill out the survey whether you choose to participate or not.  This will allow us to plan for the appropriate inventory.  The deadline to complete the survey is Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at midnight.  
 

Lunch Survey

Updated March 27th, 2020
02:16 pm

Dear Students, Parents and Florence County:

It’s been a week since my last update, and so much has changed. Whether it’s the ever-changing developments with this pandemic, or our progression this past week in the planning of continued delivery of instruction at the School District of Florence County - together we will move forward through this temporary new norm with a vision for the future, and returning to what was our daily way of life.

This past week, Mr. Jerue, Mrs. Schimmelpfenning and Mrs. Chartier tirelessly committed their time to building a future framework of virtual learning for ALL students beyond the resources provided thus far on our website. I commend all three for their collective leadership and vision for success in the interest of our students. Additionally, many of the teachers have already begun in their preparation for the forthcoming delivery of virtual instruction, and are anxious to move forward and reconnect with their students.

Next week, all teachers, via virtual connections, will begin their training and preparation for delivery of what education will look like in the weeks to come. We do not have a committed time of when this will be active virtually, but it will be soon. We only desire to assure that we are collectively prepared to deliver instruction at all grade levels and content areas the best we can. I assure our approach will be one of continuous improvement as we take our next steps together. We are doing our very best to address each and every barrier that any student may have before them to actively engage in their future learning. We will reach out next week as to how you or your child will attain any essential learning resources or technology needed to succeed virtually. If you do not have internet access at home at this time would you please reach out to chartierm@myflorence.org. We want to work collectively to ensure our students have Internet access at home.

Additionally, please watch for a forthcoming survey pertaining to our continued improvement in food service delivery beginning the week of April 6. We will be delivering meals to each individual household daily beginning Monday, April 6 (food service this week will resume as it was the week prior to Spring Break). Your input via the survey will be critical in planning and preparing each meal, in addition to quality inventory control.

Last, please look at the new “Mental Health Resources” tab on our website. This was planned weeks ago via our efforts in addressing the mental health needs of our students and families. Coincidentally, this pandemic has brought great attention to all of us and our collective mental and physical health. Cheryl Welch from Pathways to Healing has offered a wonderful letter for encouragement, activities and offerings of her support during this time. Thank you, Cheryl, for outreach and care for the well-being of the students, families and citizens of Florence County.

Please take care of each other and be with family during these times. Each day that passes is one day closer to our collective celebration at the end.

Sincerely,

 

Ben Niehaus, District Administrator


Updated March 20th, 2020
03:05 pm

Dear Students, Families and Florence County,

As we conclude a historic week, and enter the weekend, the District would like to update you as best we can at this time.

This is a historic time for an entire generation. In my humble opinion, the last time that an event may have been so profound, with such a collective impact upon our nation, even though for different reasons, was that of a day that will live in infamy, December 7, 1941. This pandemic has profoundly impacted our entire nation and our way of life, changing our normal, to a “new normal” for the weeks and months ahead, just as did that day in infamy. Yes, there have been many unfortunate events since World War II, but I don’t know that any have been so profound in their immediate impact on our collective way of life as is the matter at hand. The Greatest Generation persevered to victory, after nearly four years of battle against an absolute evil - I am confident this generation will do the same, in its own time, against this debilitating pandemic.

For you, our students, family and school-community, there are many questions regarding the ordered school closure, and what it means going forward for our schools. This is an update as to what we know at this moment in time as of March 20, 2020.

The following is the current order that we are required to follow. This order can be found at

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm and reads as follows:

“Governor Tony Evers directed DHS to close all K-12 schools (public and private) for instructional and extracurricular purposes. The mandated closure begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and will last through the end of the public health emergency declared by the Governor on March 12, 2020. This public health emergency will expire on May 10, 2020.” 

  • Instruction - Due to this current order, all instructional staff will begin training and planning on March 31 as to how we will implement virtual learning (VL) with fidelity for all students. This will not be implemented until our staff is confident that we have a VL program that can adequately serve all students.  Please continue using the enrichment resources provided on the school district website, if you wish, until students and parents are notified of such an implementation date and expectations.

  • Graduation Requirements and Ceremony - At this time the Department of Public Instruction is upholding state law, and not waiving any of the 15 required credits in order to graduate. Students will have the opportunity to complete these credits virtually, or face to face if needed, when the health emergency is lifted. Again, at this time, the health emergency is scheduled through May 10, 2020. As of now, the graduation ceremony will remain scheduled for May 22, 2020.

  • Prom - Prom is currently scheduled for April 25, 2020.  Under the current order, we are forced to postpone prom until the health emergency is lifted.

  • Instructional Hours - The Department of Public Instruction has announced that they will waive the number of required Instructional hours for public schools. Therefore, this time will not need to be made up, yet our vision will be to meet the required hours through virtual instruction at a date to be determined by school administration and professional staff.

Your patience and understanding during this very challenging and uncertain time is again appreciated. We can understand why you are asking the many questions you are, and please know it is our desire to give you as definitive of an answer as we can, as soon as practical, based upon the best knowledge we have at that time.

Please be with your family, and take care as the health experts are recommending. We hope to see you all sooner than later.

Sincerely,

Ben Niehaus

Updated March 19th,2020
12:42 pm

The School Districts of Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine, Florence County, Goodman-Armstrong Creek and Niagara appreciate all of our respective families and school-communities for their patience and understanding during these volatile, uncharted times.

Our institutions exist to educate children for their future success in service to society as productive citizens. Yet, beyond “teaching” children we provide for other functions, one of those being the essential function of the delivery of breakfast and lunch via our food service programs.

With short notice, each of our respective food service departments, with support from transportation services and other school staff and community members, have quickly put together makeshift food service offerings. As the days progress through the unknown times ahead, each of our districts look forward to improving in this service for all students of our respective districts.

Knowing some of our families chose to attend any one of our four regional schools via school choice, we want you to know for simplicity and the least confusion, each of our schools will serve those students who are enrolled (physically attend) each of our respective schools. So, regardless of where residency is, your child will be served by the school they attend, via each school's choice of delivery and food service offering. Whether this is direct delivery to each residence, or one of several drop-off points located throughout that respective school district, the school your child attends will provide your child’s breakfast and lunch.

We encourage you to frequent your respective school districts webpage, Facebook page or any other means of social media/correspondence for notice of updates or changes, whether it pertains to food service options and delivery, or any other forthcoming change.

Our goal is to continually improve in our service to each of our four respective school-communities during these challenging times. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

Andy Space, District Administrator / Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine Schools
Ben Niehaus, District Administrator / Florence County Schools
Allison Space, District Administrator / Goodman-Armstrong Creek Schools
Nate Burklund, District Administrator / Niagara Schools

As planned, we will not be providing food service during the Spring Break of March 23-27


Updated March 17th,2020
3:49 pm

As of 3:00 PM we received notice that all Wisconsin schools are closed indefinitely.  
Due to ever-changing circumstances, we are again reassessing our course of action.
Please continue visiting our website for further information as it becomes available.

 

Updated March 17th,2020
12:50 pm

Meal Program distribution dates are as follows:

March 18th, 2020 - Will contain food for March 19th-20th & 31st

March 30th, 2020 - Will contain food for  March 31st -April 1st

April 1st, 2020  - Will contain food for  April 2nd & 3rd 

 

Times slots will all remain from 5:00 - 6:00 pm and locations will all stay as follows:

Aurora - NWTC Parking Lot

Florence - in front of the MS/HS Public Library Entrance

Tipler  - Town Hall Parking Lot

Fence  - Town Hall Parking Lot

 

Meal Program Survey deadline is midnight 03-17-2020.  If you have not filled out the survey please do so by then.  

School District of Florence County COVID-19 Meal Program Survey. 

 

Updated March 16th,2020
5:50 pm

Dear Florence County,

Today we began with a team meeting with the entire custodial/maintenance staff to develop priority areas for cleaning, along with plans to assure their safety and well-being as the frontlines in sanitizing both of our buildings. Thank you to our maintenance and custodial crews for all you are going to focus on in the coming days.

Next, leadership and food service staff began developing an initial model for delivery of meals to those students who rely on our food service program. Thanks to all that contributed and offered support for preparation and delivery of the initial drop offs. We are still awaiting recommendations from state and federal agencies in administering the food service program during this emerging situation, and we hope to know much more by day’s end tomorrow. There will be no food service delivery the week of spring break, March 23-27, as originally scheduled.

The focus of our day then turned to discussion and review of a plethora of information from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the U.S. Department of Education. Upon moving through a series of checklists, considering numerous logistics, the matter of ensuring equitable delivery of education for ALL students (regardless of grade, content or ability), we came to the conclusion that our best practice in educational delivery is via our teachers in the classroom. We are not in a position to go from “nothing” to “something” overnight in the virtual realm of educational delivery, or even within a matter of a few days for that matter, even though we do have the technology onsite to do so. Therefore, from now until our return on Monday, April 6 (if this holds), we will prepare resources for distribution with enrichment activities for students at various grade levels across various content areas.

Parents - your priority is nothing less than “being a parent” for your children during this time. Between being a parent/guardian, your work, assuring childcare, in addition to contributing as a responsible citizen during uncertain times, the last thing you may have the time and energy for is to facilitate your child’s learning in the evening, especially after what will be several weeks of uncertainty and long days.

As of late this morning, we received notice that the DPI will waive hours of required instruction due to the circumstances before us per application of a waiver. This does not mean we are not going to continue in our conversations in virtual learning, whether for the near future or another time; these discussions will take significant time, and training, for staff and families. At this time, with the forthcoming spring break, and the additional time we have not used for inclement weather, even with this three week closure, we are only several days short of required hours of instruction at the high school level, and still within required hours of instruction at the elementary school.

Tuesday, March 17, parents and students are welcome to come to each school building from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM to pick up any personal items from lockers and classrooms. The 7th - 12th grade students will need to have their 1:1 device so they can submit their schedules for the next school year, and/or utilize their device for continuing online classes or forthcoming enrichment activities. If students have any questions regarding their schedules or online courses please email both Mrs. Secrist at secristc@myflorence.org and Mr. Wedge at wedgez@myflorence.org.

IMPORTANT FOR ALL - as of 6:00 PM, Tuesday, March 17, both buildings and school grounds will not be open to anyone outside of maintenance/custodial staff, office staff and school administration. The maintenance/custodial team will begin a very thorough, deep clean of both buildings over the course of the remaining week. ALL EVENTS/ACTIVITIES THAT ARE IN ANY WAY ASSOCIATED WITH EITHER SCHOOL WILL NOT TAKE PLACE THROUGH APRIL 5, WITH AN EXPECTED RETURN, AT THIS TIME, OF MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020.

Again, your cooperation and understanding during these times is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Ben Niehaus, District Administrator

 

Updated March 16th,2020
2:45 pm

School District of Florence Families we want to let you know that tomorrow from noon - 6:00 PM our buildings will be open so you can come and get your electronic devices, instruments, personal belongings and anything else you might need during our closure.  We are asking that our 4K families come in at this time and pick up any blankets & rest time items so you can wash and sanitize them.  

 

7th-12th grade students need to have their electronic devices at home with them.  If they do not this is the time to come and get them. After this period our school will not be opened to the public until further notice.   

We are asking all 7th - 11th Grade students to get online and submit your schedules.  If you have questions please email Mrs. Secrist at secristc@myflorence.org

Meal Program and Backpack Project distribution will also take place tonight from 5:00-6:00 pm in ….

Aurora - NWTC Parking Lot

Florence - in front of the MS/HS Public Library Entrance

Tipler  - Town Hall Parking Lot

Fence  - Town Hall Parking Lot

More meal dates and times to be announced at a later date

Please continue to check our website www.myflorence.org COVID-19 for the most recent updates.

Updated March 16th,2020
9:45 am

Parents are strongly encouraged to fill out the School District of Florence County COVID-19 Meal Program Survey. 

Thank You

Ben Niehaus

District Administrator

Updated March 15th,2020
7:15 pm

 

Dear Florence County,

Today I made a decision to close our school sooner than required by the state. There is no sole reason for this, but several. Specifically, there are no known cases of COVID-19 within Florence County or the surrounding area at this time.

The following are the collective reasons for my decision:

  1. We have had the advantage of two (2) days of our staff and students not being together over the weekend. Rather than to lose the advantage gained in “social distancing” by returning for the next three (3) days, let’s take advantage of these two days, and the next three to turn our collective time away into three (3) consecutive weeks of social distancing. We do have extra time from limited use of inclement weather days this school year, which will help in this all with required instructional hours.

Additionally, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) came out with new recommendations late last week recommending closures be for a minimum of eight (8) consecutive weeks. Although we are closed only through April 5 at this time, if closures are moved to eight (8) weeks, we’ll have already had a little more than three (3) full weeks completed with this closure in combination with the state required closure.

  1. The Facts - COVID-19 is highly contagious - double that of influenza. There is no vaccine, H1N1 (swine flu of 2009) had a vaccine months after it was discovered, and there were antiviral medicines to shorten recovery times. Even though there are no known cases here now, it’s likely only a matter of time in our region, and social spacing will help slow any progression when it does arrive. 

If you have Internet access, please view the simulations on this website. These simulations illustrate how social distancing can slow the spread, so that medical facilities and professionals do not see significant spikes in cases, and can best serve and help those in need:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

  1. Logistics of Educational Delivery - This matter presents numerous challenges, that will require my full commitment, and that of the district’s administration and supervisors to have uninterrupted time to process the challenges before us. In short, “equity in education delivery” will be closely scrutinized in any choices we make in providing alternative/virtual learning options, with some advocacy groups and parents already challenging schools that are a few weeks ahead of where we are. At this time, the Department of Public Instruction is not waiving hours of instruction. To make the best decisions possible, and to assure ALL students have equitable access and supports for alternative/virtual instruction, there needs to be a significant commitment of time to build a framework for delivery, if this is even possible within the parameters before us. I am optimistic that we can create learning objectives with fidelity to meet and satisfy the expectations of the United States Department of Education and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. We will also have to prepare for the dissemination of technology, materials while ensuring connectivity to WiFi for those who do not have these necessary services.

  1. Mental Health of Students - This is an uncharted time for this generation of students, and many adults for that matter; as uncertain as it can be for adults, it’s even more so for our youth. I’m concerned as to the mindset of our youth, and even if we did proceed with the next three days of instruction, what do those three days look like in supporting children who may be distracted by all that surrounds us in this conversation? Instead, let’s use the time to create space and slow the curve of this situation.

To close sooner than directed by the Governor’s office is not a decision I take lightly, especially in recognizing the challenges it creates for working families, specifically for childcare. Yet, it’s why after more consideration through the morning, and discussing with my administrative team and weighing the ever-changing dynamics, along with all the facts I’ve reviewed and considered over the weekend, I made the decision earlier today to hopefully provide ample time for you to make arrangements for these first three days of the work week.

In addition to taking time tomorrow in discussing next steps pertaining to education, we will also be discussing options for food service. Unfortunately, this may take a few days to get in place, but our goal is to assure that we are doing what we can to assist in providing meals for students in the days ahead. We are supposed to be receiving guidance in this matter at some point on Monday.

Please do visit our website regularly for updates. At this time, please do not send your child to the school to get their belongings or materials - we will soon share dates and times upon conclusion of our Monday morning meetings.

The offices of each respective building will be open. If you have something that is needed, such as medication or other critical items, please call either office to arrange for pick-up.

Again, my many thanks for your patience and understanding during this time and in the weeks to come.

Sincerely,

 

Ben Niehaus, District Administrator

Updated March 13th,2020
6:41 pm

Dear Florence County,

As you read this, I’ve already backspaced what I started...the minute hand moves like the second hand with all that’s transpiring in recent days.

Governor Evers has officially closed all Wisconsin schools beginning at 5:00 PM Wednesday, March 18, to reopen no sooner than Monday, April 6.

We will continue with our regularly scheduled spring break, and extend the break for students through the following week. At this time, school will be in session for Monday through Wednesday, March 16, 17 & 18. Please see below for more information and background in decision making thus far and moving forward until closure.

Please visit the COVID-19 tab on the www.myflorence.org website. The website contains a FAQ diagram along with other pertinent information and updates.

Sincerely,

Ben Niehaus, District Administrator

 


Today, a majority of our northeast Wisconsin school districts met to discuss our action plans and to develop a collective framework as rural, public schools serving our school-communities. We collectively recognize that not only do we provide for a child’s education, defined as an “essential service” per the Wisconsin Department of Administration, but we also respectively provide, both directly and indirectly, that of food service and childcare.

Our discussions put students and staff safety as a priority, in addition to the conversations pertaining to 1) continuance of education; 2) delivery of food service; 3) implications upon working families and employees of our school system due to childcare challenges, and the economic impact that lost work and wages will have upon families and our local/regional economies.

The ultimate goal of action plans is to slow the progression of COVID-19 throughout society. COVID-19 is here, it’s not going away anytime soon, yet we do realize our role in assuring that we implement measures to minimize its spread amongst the most vulnerable of populations.

Even prior to today’s discussions, I shared out a guidance document that employees are to follow for any forthcoming travel plans they may have. If any school staff, whether knowingly or not, travel to areas that are deemed as advisory levels of Level 2 or higher, not only may they be quarantined by that specific government unit, but as a school district employee, they could be subject to quarantine and required fitness of duty exams prior to their return to either school building. We will also develop similar plans to assure the same for students who may travel to one of these areas.

Ultimately, we came to the following framework to guide our decisions with our schools, and will follow these guidelines until closure at the end of the day on Wednesday, March 18.

  • Schools will stay open until they are forced to close by state or there is a confirmed case in the district

  • Schools will suspend unnecessary, school-related travel outside of Florence County for all students and staff

  • Schools will not host any event larger than 250 individuals

  • Schools may continue to host non-essential events locally, only if attended by students and/or individuals from the immediate school community of Florence County

Last, I have charged our professional staff of classroom teachers to begin thinking of how they may deliver “essential instruction” to all students in all content areas, whether this would be via a virtual platform or some other means. What may seem insurmountable, may be realistic with the existing 1:1 technology we have as a district, and the availability of broadband and cell reception throughout Florence County. For the few isolated areas, we are exploring options for those households and students to be provided connectivity via a temporary service option we may have available to us. Although there may be educational sacrifice with such platforms, specifically in some content areas and grade levels, I’m confident in our staff and their ability to assure the delivery of essential instruction so critical learning opportunities are not lost in their entirety. 

As I conclude this, I appreciate all the students, staff, parents and community members for their  understanding and patience during these uncharted times. We will do our best to make sound decisions in the collective interest of all that are impacted by the COVID-19 matter.

 

Updated March 12, 2020
8:00pm

School leadership, with support from the Florence County Health Department, along with advice from numerous state and federal agencies, is closely monitoring the COVID-19/coronavirus situation.

 

As this is a very fluid situation, action plans are ever-changing, and we will continue working the matter as guidance is provided to best assure we are fulfilling our essential services to the students and residents of Florence County.

 

The School District of Florence County, along with the other rural schools throughout northeastern Wisconsin will meet Friday morning to discuss continued plans of action for our rural schools, students, families and communities. We will strive for the best balance in assuring the safety of all students and citizens, and for continuance of delivering the essential functions that you expect of the School District of Florence County.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as developments progress. 

Updated March 11, 2020
6:19 pm


We want to continue to provide you with the latest information about the coronavirus. We are closely monitoring reports and our staff members continue to be in contact with the Florence County Health Department.

We have put additional plans in place to increase the disinfection of schools, including surfaces and buses. The School District of Florence County is also taking this opportunity to remind students and staff about good hand hygiene and to cover coughs and sneezes. Students are being given opportunities to wash their hands during the school day. In locations where access to soap and water is limited, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also available.

Our Facilities Department uses a broad spectrum disinfectant that is known to be virucidal and effective in killing most viruses. The disinfectants we use most often is called the Claire and/or Ecolab. Custodians are wiping down surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, and drinking fountains on a regular basis. We have recently added more disinfection of school buses as well. 

For more information on our plans to keep our students and staff healthy, please see our FAQ and resources below. If you have any questions or concerns, you can also call the Florence County Health Department at 715-528-4837.

 

School District of Florence County Illness Guidelines:

If your child will not be attending school for any reason, it is very important for you to call and notify the school office of the reason for the absence.  This helps us to keep track of illnesses among our students.  It also helps us be assured that your child is safe at home. For the health of your child, other students, and school staff, it is important to know when your child should stay home due to illness. Students should stay home if they have had any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100 or higher in the past 24 hours
  • Undiagnosed rash that is accompanied by fever or itching
  • Bad cough or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours
  • Sore throat, with fever or swollen glands in the neck
  • Symptoms of being sick such as being unusually tired, fussy, pale or had difficulty waking

If your child has strep throat or another bacterial infection, he/she should stay home until the antibiotic has been given for at least 24 hours and your health care provider has given permission for your child to return to school. We encourage you to seek medical attention when your child is sick and to follow your health care provider's recommendations about returning to school and other social activities. 

 

For Florence County specific coronavirus information check out the Florence County Health Department Website and for the latest information check out CDC website.

Coronavirus: What you need to know infographic

© 2020