Waterloo students to resume in-person instruction

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All Waterloo School District students will return to school in-person next week.

The district notified parents Thursday that Waterloo Junior High School and Waterloo High School students would resume their hybrid learning schedule on Monday.

“Our ability to staff our buildings remains fragile,” Waterloo Superintendent Brian Charron wrote to parents. “All parents should remain prepared for a return to remote learning due to any suspected outbreak or inability to staff our buildings.”

This news comes after Charron notified parents Wednesday night that the district’s elementary school students will return to in-person learning next week after using remote learning this week due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We are going to do our best at providing this opportunity for our students,” Charron said. “In consultation with the health department, I remain confident that we are not a significant source of spread of the virus. The health of our students and employees remains our highest priority. We have proven that we can keep everyone safe while providing in-person learning for our students. I’m hopeful we can have a successful two weeks of school before Christmas break.”

The decision for what WJHS and WHS students would do was still pending Wednesday as the district worked to determine staff availability.

“Please continue to monitor your symptoms and take them seriously,” Charron added. “The prevalence of COVID-19 in our community remains significantly high and compromises our ability to keep our facilities open for in-person learning. Please be honest when verifying that your children are symptom-free so we can avoid unnecessary quarantines of students and employees.”

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner said he approved of the school district’s decision.

In his Thursday notification, Charron urged parents and students to follow health department guidelines in the coming weeks.

“Unfortunately, many students, families and employees were forced to quarantine during Thanksgiving. We would like to avoid further quarantines of members of our school family over Christmas break,” Charron wrote. “We will be stressing social distancing more than ever during this two-week period so that everyone can enjoy the holiday with their family.”

The district also announced Thursday that it would extend its first semester through Jan. 15 to make up for some lost days and allow for more time to assess student learning.

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