Wisconsin families, educators react to extension of distance learning

Updated: April 22, 2020 06:29 PM

It's been five weeks since most kids were in their classrooms. And those in Wisconsin, found out last week that they won't be going back this year.


"It's been a roller coaster of emotions, but we are finding a flow," shared Nicole Modeen, mother of four kids in the Superior district.

Four kids managing schoolwork from home has been a challenge. But they are making it work. "I miss my friends and teacher," shared Knox, who is in 1st grade. 

Landon, a 5th grader, was going to graduate elementary school this year. But he's staying positive.

Amy Starzecki, the superintendent in Superior, said when they found out about not going back, it was really sad. "When our kids left in mid-March, we didn't know they wouldn't be coming back. So that's been hard. And on our seniors, too," she shared.

As for graduation, she said they are working to find a way so the kids can still celebrate. "We are looking at options where we can still make this special, for families and students. We want to incorporate caps and gowns and diplomas," she said. But face to face interaction will be limited by the rules.

Starzecki addressed grades and passing. "We will not be prohibiting students from moving forward to the next grade because of this. And we are continuing letter grades where they are needed, for scholarships and college applications."

They know this has been difficult for everyone. "We appreciate the families for your hard work, too," she said. "We know you are doing the best you can."

The Modeens are finding silver linings. "We get more family time," Landon added. 

His older sister, Belle, said, "We were so busy with sports and everything, we didn't have time to eat dinner as a family before. Now it's great." She's in 7th grade.

And Cubby, a 4th grader, chimed in, "And we can eat lunch whenver we want!"

Their mom said it's been good to see them learn how to do things like bake, too.

Districts are also utilizing social media to honor their seniors. And do things like virtual challenges or virtual spirit weeks to keep people feeling connected and energized.

Videos are popular. The principal at Ashland Middle School ended his video message on Monday with some music and pictures of kids he misses seeing in person.

"Do what you can," Jake Levings said. "And don't stress out about the things you can't."

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