At its regular monthly meeting Monday, June 15, 2020, members of the Barron Area School Board discussed how to reopen the schools safely, now that COVID-19-related restrictions are being eased.
Diane Tremblay, district administrator, said she “dreams about” what it would be like.
“Everything works perfectly smooth and we’re back having fun, back to life as it was.”
Dreams are one thing, but making that a reality will be quite another, she told the board.
Planning to reopen the schools will be a gradual, fluid process that will require weekly updates for school board members, frequent consultations among district and local government leaders, and just-as-frequent contacts with parents.
As time goes on and conditions change, the district also remains in contact with a variety of in-house, contractual and local government representatives, Tremblay said.
These include in-house personnel for nursing, buildings & grounds, and food service departments. Contractual consultants include the district’s insurance companies and legal counsel. And the district also remains in touch with local governments that include the city of Barron and Barron County.
Tremblay said the district maintains frequent contact with County Health Officer Laura Sauve, of the Department of Health and Social Services.
“She has been wonderful (to work with),” she told the board.
“Two separate groups of (school district) superintendents will be consulted, too – even though we do things differently in different counties,” Tremblay said.
She said that she has been in contact with school districts where COVID-19 has been found, and others where it hasn’t.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, County Administrator Jeff French and Barron City Administrator Liz Jacobson are also in the loop, she added.
“We’re all, in a sense, watching over one another,” Tremblay said.
The district is making its plans with two benchmarks in mind – when it’s safe to have a 25 percent occupancy rate in district buildings, and when that level can safely be raised to 50 percent, she added.
“When we get to 25 percent, our parents will also see these plans,” Tremblay said. “This is crucial – we need to communicate with (parents) so they’re comfortable sending their kids here.
“If things go according to plan (and) we’ll be up to 50 percent occupancy in the buildings, (and) that will also allow for athletics (to resume),” she added.
A district staff meeting is planned Wednesday, July 1, 2020, to continue discussion of reopening the buildings, Tremblay said.