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Area school district makes in-person learning a priority

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MEDFORD, Wis. (WAOW)--- The Medford Area Public School District is one of the school districts in Wisconsin offering in-person learning everyday, and officials wouldn't change a thing.

"It's working for us," said Pat Sullivan, Superintendent of MAPSD.

Like nearly every school in Wisconsin, Medford was forced to close at the very beginning of the shut down last year.

So they developed a plan which was based on choice, But would have in-person learning all week long.

"If they're uncomfortable with that they can choose to stay home and learn remotely," said Sullivan.

The decision was made because officials knew the community wouldn't accept anything less, and internet access isn't always reliable in the area.

"There were really not options for Medford," said Sullivan.

But the school was transparent with parents, and educating them on what could happen.

"The school did a really good job on educating parents and the children about what was going to happen. How kids were going to come back, what to expect in the classrooms," said Joan Steliga, a parent of a MAPSD student.

Especially on social distancing in places like the lunchroom.

"We will try our best, but we did not guarantee parents we could do 6 feet separation in the school building. We said there are times it just cant be done," said Sullivan.

At its highest point, the district had 330 students in quarantine. But The district feels filling seats and working in person is what's best for the kids.

"We're 1,100 kids district wide. So, when we have 330 quarantined we still got a lot of kids showing up face to face 5 days a week," said Sullivan.

"There have been times where students and staff have been quarantined, but we still push through," said Wendy Budimlija, an English Teacher at Medford Area Senior High School.

Teachers in the Medford school district can expect to receive their COVID-19 vaccines March 19.