Wrightstown schools making it through COVID-19 with students still in school buildings

Brian Roebke photo
Wrightstown Community School District board member Tom Eggert (right) questioned if the proposed nondiscrimination policy was too vague. He would like to see more specific references.

By Brian Roebke
Students in the Wrightstown Community School District are still going to school buildings every day, something many students in other school districts are not.
Some started the school year virtual and are continuing that, and other districts have gone to virtual either temporarily or indefinitely.
Superintendent Carla Buboltz told the school board at its last meeting there’s been an ebb and flow of absences and directed board members to the dashboard on the school district website.
She said benchmarks for continuing in-school instruction are “Can we continue to provide a quality education for students and do we have staffing to do so?”
As long as the schools can meet those benchmarks, they will continue to allow students in buildings.
“We continue to do a lot of positive contact tracing,” she said, noting she was on a conference call earlier in the day with county health departments that are grateful for schools doing so much contact tracing work.
“Their organizations are at capacity, they can’t do it,” she said.
Buboltz noted the schools are working on students and staff “physical distancing, but social connecting.”
Administrators gave examples of how instruction is going as well as can be expected. One example was of a virtual student who was watching a science experiment live, with students in class pointing a computer to the experiment so they could participate.
“We’ve had to physical distance some kids but we haven’t socially distanced them at all,” Buboltz said. “We’ve stayed connected with them.”
Buboltz said most of the student absences haven’t been because of them having positive tests, but their families.
“There are very few cases related to school,” she said. “We can’t say it enough, we need our parents to do the right things.”
She doesn’t want to tell families not to get together for Thanks-giving but they should really think before they do it. “The more people you put in your bubble, the more chances you have of contacting.”
She gave a global perspective of lunches. The USDA is providing free meals for all children in the district, including St. John and St. Clare schools, for the rest of the school year. Since they provide for lunches for children from age 3-18, day care centers are also getting meals.
Food Service Director Jennifer Tilot and her staff are working hard to provide 1,300 bagged meals every day.
The board had its first look at the annual nondiscrimination and equal opportunity policy. “This would be what identifies nondiscrimination and equal opportunity within our district,” said Buboltz, who noted it’s a fairly broad policy that list things the school will not discriminate for, including sexual harassment. “It says we’re not going to tolerate it, if we know about it, we’re going to deal with it, and we’re going to support the victims of that,” she said.
Board member Tom Eggert questioned if the policy was way too vague and would like to see more specific references.
“I don’t want us left open for people to come after us,” he said. Buboltz supported the policy as proposed but will review it with the district’s lawyer before bringing it back to the board in November.
For example, she noted the district has looked at driving under the influence convictions previously but she looks at the position they would be in, the classes they would be teaching, and how old the case was.
“I would not approve this,” Eggert said. “It’s way too vague.”
The board approved its virtual attendance at board meetings policy that excludes participation of board members at the annual meeting as well as closed sessions, when there is no guarantee other people are not listening to the conversation that is supposed to be private.
Board member Joie Cunningham was recognized for reaching level 1 of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards for efforts in leadership and board development and Mike Van Eperen reached level 4.
Following a closed session, the board approved a $2,000 increase to the health insurance cap provided to employees.
Personnel report
Evan Juntunen, wellness center supervisor
Georgiana Meulemans, school nutrition assistant
Alex Van Dyck, wellness center supervisor
Debra Zwicky, grade 3 teacher