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Community reacts to Wausau school board decision

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Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- In a 5-4 vote, Wausau Students will now have the option to send kids back to school in person.

For Sherri Esslinger, who has five kids in the Wausau School District, the decision is a game changer. She said it's been hard to keep her kids focused on school while also having to focus on being a student herself.

"Maybe about a quarter of the time, they participate. I can't watch them all the time," she said.

Now, with the new "first day of school" taking place in the beginning of November, Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker said school administrators are working hard to make sure the district is prepared.

"It's important to remember that school on November 2nd and going forward isn't going to look like what it did pre-pandemic."

The new system will see kids headed back to school in small cohorts. Classrooms and staff will be rearranged to ensure social distancing.

The junior high and high schools will be on a hybrid model.

"That's going to be determined by each specific school because there is such a difference in scheduling whether we're talking modular systems at West or periods at East. So those buildings are given some autonomy," Zunker said.

The in-person method is still optional. Parents can choose to keep their kids learning online, but staff may also be rearranged for online learners as well.

"What will help keep schools open is if students wear their masks, safe social distance and wash their hands. All those things that the CDC recommends," Zunker said.

While some worries about heading back to in person learning have crossed Sherri's mind, she says her kids will learn much better in person.

"My kids love seeing their friends, and they love their teachers and they love going to school."

Natalie Sopyla

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