What MMSD classrooms now look like as students start returning this week

Mmsd Return

MADISON, Wis. — It’s an important week for the Madison school district as it begins the transition of bringing students back into the classroom.

It was March 15, 2020 when the Public Health Madison Dane County shut down schools to slow the spread of COVID-19. For MMSD a shutdown that was anticipated to last a few weeks lasted nearly a year.   News 3 Now’s Chris Stanford recently got a look inside a Kindergarten classroom to see what will be different when students start returning Tuesday.

“Anticipation has been building,” says Frank-Allis Elementary Principal Candace Terrell.  “There are families who are really suffering and children who are suffering from having to remain virtual,” she says.

When kindergarteners return, their desks will be spread out.  There will be more room available since many students will be staying virtual.  Teachers will have to juggle a mixed classroom of in person students and those participating online.

Students will spend the majority of the day in their classroom, in their own taped off space.

“Students have a perimeter of where they should be or stay within,” says Terrell.

Gym will be held in the classroom with students using yoga mats.  Lunch will be brought to them.  Recess will be outside.  Masking and social distancing will be required everywhere.

Students will have containers with their own supplies and will no share any materials.

Classes will use a color-coded system for locker and bathroom time.

“Everyone wants what’s best for students and families,” says Terrell.

An independent review found safety measures at MMSD schools were “more than adequate” to provide a safe environment for students and staff.

MMSD plans for Kindergarten to return 3/9, 1st and 2nd grad 3/16, and 4k 3/23.  There is not a plan for other grades to return this school year.   Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins has said he hopes other grades can return this year, but there’s no plan at this point.