LA CROSSE COUNTY — School districts across the Coulee Region are confident that finally sending students back to in-person learning is going to work out and be totally fine this time around.
Districts tried to resume in-person classes in fall of 2020, largely unsuccessful with many having to immediately pare back their in-person class resumption plans significantly.
Tony Bobonee, district administrator for Holmen area schools, says this time is much different.
“Well for starters, we were not really prepared the first time around,” Bobonee said. “Apart from absolutely everyone, no one could have predicted that would have happened like that. But this time, there’s a democrat in the white house so… we’re pretty confident that everything will be fine and the virus will just realize that everything is back to normal and not infect a bunch of kids and then spread to their family and friends.”
District administrators say they are doing everything they can to prepare for in-person classes to resume, including and limited to, most everything they did to prepare for in-person classes in the fall of 2020.
“We’ve got those temperature thingies at the front, so you know… no viruses getting in here!” Bobonee said. “Plus, we put up some plastic glass all over and we’re going to tell kids to wear masks and social distance, except this time, we’re going to add the words, “Seriously, you guys, we gotta wear masks, okay?” at the end of all the signage. We have totally got this this time around.”
Despite Bobonee’s confidence, he did acknowledge that it did not come without risks.
“Is the pandemic waning? No. Is there a new, more contagious variant currently making its way throughout the country? Yes. Is it smart to reopen right now? No, BUT! Is it necessary to keep trying as soon as we possibly can? Also no, BUT! Are we sick of having to use and figure out Zoom? Yes, absolutely, you’re-goddamn-right, YES.”
Sonny Grabbydoop, Tomah’s district admin, declined to comment as their in-person class resumption has already been disrupted by COVID-19.
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.