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SPASH takes extra precautions for a safer school start

Wausau-Rhinelander WSAW-TV logo Wausau-Rhinelander WSAW-TV 9/1/2021 Drew Sutherland
a sign on the side of a building: SPASH is taking extra precautions to avoid COVID-19 upheavals this year © Provided by Wausau-Rhinelander WSAW-TV SPASH is taking extra precautions to avoid COVID-19 upheavals this year

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Wednesday, September first was the first day of school for public institutions across the state of Wisconsin.  With the delta variant of COVID-19 causing scores of new infections and schools in the southern U.S. shutting down in response, protocols in dealing with the virus are hotly debated.

The Stevens Point school board is erring on the side of caution.  Part of that is the result of the upheaval caused by changing conditions relating to the pandemic last year.  They went from the shutdown in March 2020 to a cohort model of schooling to e-learning.  It was only in the last three weeks of the last school year that they were able to go back to in-person full time.

“Our district does have a mask policy in the expectation that we’re going to mask everybody indoors as we start the year here, and then we’re going to revisit that at the end of September.  We’re also using our expanded lunch seating area like we did last year, so we can assure students who want a little more space at lunch have it,” said Stevens Point Area Senior High Principal Jon Vollendorf.

The COVID-19 precautions are not deterring Vollendorf from having as normal a year as possible.  SPASH had a training on Monday to make sure they knew how to deal with anxiety and uncertainty in both faculty and staff, and students.  Vollendorf said he is happy to have extracurricular activities return so that kids have an outlet to help them deal with their feelings.

“Last year our school and district participated in the alternate fall season, so you know, we’re playing football again, we’re running cross country again.  All of our fall athletic teams and clubs are up and running again as well.  So we’re really happy and thankful about that,” he said.

Homecoming is scheduled for September 24, complete with dance, parade and Pep Fest.  The drama students will also get back to a regular schedule, producing their fall play and spring musical.

Wednesday was mostly reserved as an orientation day for incoming Sophomores and new students.  The rest will get their reunion on Thursday.

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