Students to Return to School for Hybrid Instruction


Anna Lee, Staff Writer and Business Manager

The Stoughton School Board made a decision on Jan. 4 to allow students to return to SHS for hybrid instruction. Freshmen who selected the hybrid learning option will return to the building on Feb. 1, while sophomore, junior, and senior students will return a week later on Feb. 8. This decision was in accordance with Public Health Madison and Dane County’s recommendation to allow students in K-12 to return to school, following certain requirements.

A notice in the district newsletter from Jan. 8 by District Administrator, Tim Onsager, elaborates on the logistics of instruction for the second semester.

“Our grades 3-12 students will operate in three groups — Group A, Group B, and Group V (virtual). While students in Group V attend full-time virtual learning, students in Groups A and B attend school every other day. The same routine and classes happen daily. The only difference is which set of students are on campus. We call this method the ‘A/B rotation,’” Onsager says.

The transition into hybrid instruction also arrives with the reintroduction of full day classes, taking place from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. However, according to Mike Kruse, SHS principal, virtual students shouldn’t be concerned about having to sit in front of their computer all day.

Kruse says, “[I] can imagine that most instruction or the delivery of information will probably happen at the beginning of the period to make sure that people have time to navigate virtual learning, so they’re not studying online for six, seven hours.”

However, Kruse does mention that “[…] there might be times in which everyone needs to be on for a good chunk of time.”

According to Kruse, virtual students can expect accommodations that will make the longer school day easier. Students are scheduled frequent breaks throughout the day, including passing time and lunch. The allowance for students to have their cameras off second semester also adds increased convenience for virtual students. In addition, students who have a scheduled Study Hall will not have to attend a Zoom class during that time.

Students can also expect to see most, if not all, of their teachers instructing classes in the building.

“I believe everyone’s going to be here, unless there is some kind of situation that’s medical in nature, they went through human resources, and [there is] some reason why. It isn’t just, ‘I’m going to stay home’ […] There’s a reason why, and we’ll make accommodations for those people,” Kruse says.

Kruse says, “It’s just going to be different. We’re all going to do our very best.”

“It’s just going to be different. We’re all going to do our very best.”

— Mike Kruse

Additionally, the high school is implementing safety measures to ensure the protection of all in-person students and staff. Students who are unwilling to wear a mask, or wear one correctly on a consistent basis, will be addressed by staff.

Kruse says, “We’re going to talk with them and see what’s going on here because we’re dealing with the health and safety of the entire system. If it is a continuous situation where we have to have conversations like that, you have another choice — you can be a Virtual Viking. You can get your education the way it was first semester, that’s fine.”

There will also be social distancing at all times in the building and on school buses. Students staying on campus for lunch will have assigned seats after the first week, with one student per table. Students leaving campus for lunch will only be allowed into the building around five minutes before their next class starts, and will be socially distanced either in the pool hallway or the 100s hall to avoid congregating. In the morning, students will be allowed into the building at 8:45 a.m. and are expected to head straight to their first period.

Students can carry their backpacks in the building as well in order to reduce the number of students standing in the hallways during passing time. A new air filtration system in the building acts as an additional precaution on top of the mandatory social distancing and masks.

Kruse continues, “We’ll probably open [an option to allow students to choose hybrid instruction] the beginning of fourth quarter; [families will] have another opportunity to make some decisions.” Students who are already enrolled in hybrid classes, though, will have the ability to revert back to complete virtual learning at any point if they don’t feel safe returning back to the building.