WAHOO – Wahoo Superintendent Brandon Lavaley unveiled the plan to re-open Wahoo Public Schools for in-person learning on Aug. 13 at the monthly school board meeting.

The plan is unique.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the members of the administration to re-think everything.

Students will return in three weeks and Lavaley, Elementary Principal Ben Kreifels, Middle School Principal Marc Kaminski, Activities Director Robert Barry and new High School Principal Vernon Golladay thoughtfully addressed the board and a handful of very interested visitors on Monday night at the meeting, which was held inside the high school library.

All six administrators voiced confidence in a plan that has been put together over the course of the past four months. One that ensures the safest possible environment for both students and teachers.

“I feel like we have a really good plan,” Kreifels stated.

Lavaley echoed Kreifels sentiment.

“Things are going to look different. Things are going to be different. I’m sure it will be challenging. But, I am confident in the plan we have put together,” Lavaley stated.

Middle school and high school students will be required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Students will be able to remove the mask if they find themselves in a situation where they can maintain at least six-feet of separation.

“We are going to require our students to wear a mask when it is reasonable and appropriate,” Lavaley stated.

Students will not be required to wear a mask in the cafeteria, where social distancing will be manageable. A seating chart will be implemented in the cafeteria for middle school and high school students and will be followed for at least the first semester.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will not be required to wear masks during the school day.

The plan for the elementary students differs greatly from the plan set forth for the middle school and high school.

A different class schedule allows Kreifels to split elementary students into what he has termed as a “cohort.” The plan will limit the number of people an elementary student comes in contact with during the school day.

Kreifels said it is unrealistic to expect the majority of elementary students to properly wear a mask for the entirety of the school day.

The cohorts will not change and will learn in the classroom together, go to recess together and eat lunch together, completely separate from the other established cohorts.

In addition, Lavaley said that parents can expect changes to the busing schedule.

Students riding the bus will be required to wear a mask and only one student will be allowed to sit in each row of seats.

“It’s inconvenient and not what people are going to want to hear, but it is the reality we face at this time,” Lavaley said.

The members of the board and the administrators were bolstered by teachers who voiced their support at the meeting.

“We can’t wait get back into the classroom to teach our students,” said District Media Director Dave Privett.

Judy Stukenholtz, a kindergarten teacher, also voiced her support, praising the administration for their hard work.

Lavaley said that letters will be going out to parent’s before the end of July and that the re-opening plan for the elementary, middle school and high school would be available on the school’s website on Monday, July 27.

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