District applies for DPI waiver

How online instructional hours are counted remains in question during coronavirus pandemic
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Cedar Grove-Belgium School District has received a waiver from the state Department of Public Instruction that waives instructional hours for the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

District residents this month unanimously agreed to apply for the waiver.

DPI has required hours of instruction for elementary, middle and high schools, which became an issue after Gov. Tony Evers ordered schools to close in late March.

The school district began teaching online but it isn’t sure how to determine instructional time.

“There are so many questions about online instruction and what counts,” interim Supt. Claire Martin said at the April 8 School Board meeting held via Zoom.

“There’s not clarity on this issue, even from the DPI.”

The waiver, she said, “in no way” implies that administration or teaching staff thinks it needs to spend less time working with students, but it provides insurance if the district doesn’t meet the required hours.”

While the district requires teachers to be online between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Martin said she isn’t sure how that will equate to instructional time.

Board member Laura Schieffer said some districts “want bragging rights” for not using the waiver and still meeting the instructional requirements.

“There are some districts that aren’t doing anything,” she said.

Martin said she initially thought the district should take a wait-and-see approach, but legal counsel said there would be no reason to wait to apply for the waiver.

DPI said in March that it would approve all waivers from school districts seeking to waive mandated instructional hour requirements through an expedited process.

After a public hearing on the waiver, Cedar Grove-Belgium residents approved applying for the waiver, 13-0.



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