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Coronavirus Updates

03/12/2020 4:28 pm

Coronavirus Update 5
April 16, 2020, 4:15 p.m.
SD of WS Parents and Families –

Governor Evers issued an updated and extended "Safer at Home" order at 1:30 p.m. today.  The order included the following language in regards to K-12 schools:

"4. Closures. All of the following facilities shall be closed:
a. Schools. Public and private K-12 schools shall remain closed for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Schools may continue to facilitate distance learning or virtual learning. Schools may continue to be used for Essential Government Functions and food distribution. This section does not apply to facilities operated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections."

First, I cannot imagine how challenging it is for you to balance the pressure of serving as a "home-school teacher" while completing your other responsibilities during this unprecedented time.  While we are saddened by the closure of the school year, we are in some ways relieved to have clarity regarding "what comes next."  In the coming days, I will meet with our administrative and leadership teams to develop a plan for the final weeks of the school year.  I will offer that each of our three school buildings adopted a slightly different approach to instruction so it is safe to assume that each of the three buildings will offer a unique plan for completing the school year.

We will do our best to complete our planning next week and have the principals share it with you.  While this most recent order from the governor provides clarity regarding the question of returning to school, it also creates a number of questions about the process of an orderly finish.  We need your help - please reach out to your building principal, or reply to this email, with any questions and/or concerns you wish for us to consider.  

Thanks again for your patience and perseverance.  Your school district, your community, and your kids appreciate your work. 
Stay well, stay safe, and stay home!


Please see the below link for some useful student and parent resources. If you are looking for academic information, please go to your respective school's page, and click on "COVID-19 Academic Updates" at the top of the page. 
COVID-19 Parent and Student Resources

Coronavirus Update 4
March 18, 2020, 9:00 p.m.
First, we hope you are well. These are unsettling times. Please take care of yourself and your family.
Earlier this evening, a mass email was sent out by WEAC (Wisconsin Education Association Council - the state teachers' association). The email reported a confirmed COVID - 19 case in a School District of West Salem student. This is a FALSE statement. The La Crosse County Health Department confirmed this to be FALSE. At this time we are unsure where WEAC got this information and why they sent it out statewide. It was an unfortunate error. Please know that when our district has a case involving a student or an employee, Beth Clements, our District Nurse and I will be notified and we will pass that information on to everyone when the team at La Crosse County Health Department gives us permission to release it.
Breathe...stay well, stay calm, stay safe, and stay home.
We will do our very best to keep you in the loop.

Coronavirus Update 3
March 15, 2020, 8:15 p.m.- 

SD of WS Parents –
We hope you and your family are doing well. 
The unprecedented events connected to the global COVID-19 pandemic are unsettling at best. The goal of this communication is to provide direction for the upcoming, unprecedented suspension of school. While I would prefer to provide additional assurances and confident predictions for what lies ahead, I cannot. I simply offer you my pledge that your school district will do its very best to serve you and your children every day.
We offer the following update regarding the upcoming suspension of school connected to the COVID–19 virus:
Suspension of Classes

- The district will hold class on Monday, March 16, 2020, and Tuesday, March 17, 2020, during regular hours. Student absences Monday and Tuesday will be excused should parents choose to keep their children home.
- The district will suspend classes beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and concluding on Friday, April 3, 2020.
- The district will resume instruction on Monday, April 6, 2020.
- All three school buildings and the Panther Den will be closed while classes are suspended. 
Connections with Students and Families
- The district will schedule a weekly contact with each student and family.
- All communication with students and families will be done using district technology and district accounts.
- The district will suspend regular instruction beginning March 18, 2020.
- The district will not conduct formal, required, on-line instruction at this time.
- Our school nutrition service is working through a delivery model to provide students and/or families with “take-out” meals. More information to follow.
- If our nursing staff administers any medication to your child, please plan to retrieve this medication on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

 Community Leadership
- Citizenship is critically important during times of a national and/or global crisis. 
- Kindness in service to others can make a world of difference. 
- Stay well, stay calm, and serve others.
The district plans to make a connection with each student and their family each week. The goal is to both complete a welfare (How are you doing?) check and a service (Do you need anything from us?) check each week. You will be contacted by a member of our team on or before Friday, March 20, 2020. The district elected not to deploy a required "on-line" instruction model for all students because we do not believe this to be an effective way to deliver instruction that is required by all students. The district is planning to offer "take-out" meals during the lunch hour each day. The program will operate similarly to our federal summer school lunch program. Our school nutrition team will provide additional details in a separate communication. 
Stay well, stay calm, and stay tuned,

Coronavirus Update 2

March 13, 2020, 8:40 p.m.- Earlier this evening, Governor Evers issued a declaration instructing all schools throughout the state of Wisconsin to be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and tentatively resuming April 6, 2020. The School District of West Salem will hold classes on Monday, March 16, 2020, and Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to wrap up and provide some closure for students and staff alike. 
At this time, we realize there are many questions and this is an unsettling and unusual time for all. We will keep you updated as we receive more information surrounding this situation. We ask that you continue to check your email, as well as the school website for the most up to date information. Please continue to take care of yourselves and your families. 

Coronavirus Update 1

March 12, 2020, 4:30 p.m.- The School District of West Salem is committed to the health and safety of all of our students, staff, and families. Safety is our top priority, and as such, we are continuously monitoring the public health developments regarding the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Beginning March 12, 2020 through March 22, 2020 all student travel and after school activities that include crowds are suspended. We will issue further updates and/or changes when we receive more information and direction from state and local agencies. Please check with your building principal if you are unsure about an event.


At this time, there have been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the state of Wisconsin. With more testing facilities online, we can expect to see more confirmed cases. Identifying cases allows the Department of Health Services (DHS) and our local partners to move quickly to isolate a case and contain the spread of the virus. There are zero confirmed cases in La Crosse County. The risk in our community remains low. 

We continue to look at all the medical evidence and breaking information from local and national agencies including the La Crosse County Public Health Department (LCPHD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19 to make the best decisions possible with regard to student and staff safety. ´╗┐While circumstances may change, all of the leading health resources we have been working with indicate the best way to proceed is to be overcautious and follow the standard health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of all illness, including influenza, which is also common at this time of the year.

Our custodial staff members are taking the following actions to keep students and staff healthy:

  • Increasing all cleaning efforts in buildings and school buses
  • Wiping down all areas with disinfectants, including counters, desks and shared equipment
  • Providing hand sanitizer to all staff, students, and public visitors
  • Continuously monitoring our restrooms to make sure soap dispensers are filled
  • Increasing cleaning of confined spaces, including locker rooms, elevators, and meeting rooms
  • Allowing and promoting if patrons would like to bring in their own hand sanitizer

We continue to encourage all students and staff to take the following actions to prevent and reduce the spread of illness:

  • Know your personal health situation.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick and do not send your student to school if they are feeling sick. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands. If a tissue is unavailable, cough/sneeze into your flexed elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Contact a health care provider if you are feeling sick or have questions. 
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

At this time, the La Crosse County Public Health Department (LCPHD) is not recommending closing schools. School closures have significant negative impacts on our community. We continue to work closely with the LCPHD and the CDC on how to stay open safely. If a school has a student or staff member who has tested positive for coronavirus, they will work with La Crosse County Public Health Department to determine the best course of action. Below are considerations LCPHD has for keeping schools open:

  • Anyone who is sick should stay home. Don't go to work or school, and don't run errands. 
  • People who have been to an area where coronavirus is spreading within the past 14 days should not attend school or school events.  This includes both international travel to Level 2 and 3 countries with widespread illness and domestic travel to states with more than 10 cases. This information can be found here, and the CDC updates it daily.
  • Children are not known to get seriously ill from COVID-19
  • Closing schools may not be effective because some children may congregate anyway, at other locations
  • Many parents, such as healthcare workers, need to be at work. If these critical workers stay home with children it causes significant impacts on the healthcare system and other institutions that are essential for our community to function
  • If schools close, some children might have to stay home with alternative caregivers, such as elders, who are more vulnerable
  • We don't know how effective children are in spreading this disease

We will continue to keep you updated as we receive information from state and federal agencies. For more information and resources on how to speak to your children about the coronavirus, please see the links below. If you have questions regarding a specific event, please call the district office or your respective school buildings using the numbers at the bottom of the page. 

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
NPR Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the Coronavirus
World Health Organization: How to Talk to Your Kids about the Coronavirus
Let's P.R.E.P. La Crosse County Public Health 

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