MMSD announces phased plan for return to in-person instruction for all grades

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to allow all students back in classrooms to varying degrees by the end of April. District spokesperson Tim LeMonds made the announcement Thursday morning.

Students will still have the option to continue learning remotely if they prefer it to in-person instruction. Families will be sent a survey on Monday to indicate their intentions on whether students plan to return to in-person learning or stick with remote instruction.

MMSD Assistant Superintendent Lisa Kvistad said the district coordinated with school principals, Madison Teachers Inc., medical experts and others to plan the phased return.

She added that the phased return is a short-term strategy to get students back in classrooms, but there’s a long-term strategy to make sure students and educators are prepared for whatever comes next. That includes pivoting back to virtual instruction if needed.

“We know coming to school is about academics, but it is also about social and emotional learning,” Kvistad said. “We also know our high school students are on a trajectory to graduate. We know students progress through a series of courses and we really want to be sure we’re supporting students. “

Last week, MMSD officials shared the results of an independent review detailing the effectiveness of district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies. According to the report, which is available online, the steps the district took were “more than adequate” to provide, students, staff and visitors a safe environment to learn and work.

Kvistad said the seriousness of the pandemic and the impact it’s had on students and families remained front-of-mind during the process.

“We take very seriously the fact that this is a pandemic. We take very seriously that we want our schools and our classrooms to be safe,” Kvistad said. “We had the death of a student at East High School from the coronavirus. That impacts people. We all pay attention to that.”

The district’s re-opening schedule for in-person instruction is as follows:

March 16th

  • Grades 1-2 (four full days of in-person instruction)

March 23rd

  • 4K (two full days in-person, two full days virtual)

April 13th

  • Grades 3 (four full days of in-person instruction)

  • 4K2 students who have switched their Returning Preference to in-person

April 20th

  • Grades 4-5 (four full days of in-person instruction)

  • Grade 6 (two full days in-person, two full days virtual)

  • Grade 9 (two days in-person, two full days virtual)

  • Grade 12 (two days in-person, two full days virtual)

April 27th

  • Grades 7-8 (two full days in-person, two full days virtual)

  • Grades 10-11 (two days in-person, two full days virtual)

Kindergarteners returned to their classrooms with safety and distancing measures in place earlier this week.

The district also announced a phased restart of all high school athletics and c0-curricular activities. More information about MMSD’s reopening plans is available online.