Wausau School Board stalemates on reopening schools

Wausau school protest

B.C. Kowalski/City Pages

Wausau school protest

Members of the group Parents for Wausau Schools Reopening gather with signs outside the Longfellow Administration building before the Wausau School Board meeting Monday.

Schools in the Wausau District will remain in virtual learning mode for now.

The Wausau School Board voted on four different ideas to reopen Wausau schools but a split board didn’t pass any changes to virtual learning Monday night.

Board members proposed anything from a slightly modified virtual learning plan, to bringing children 4K through fifth grade back to school — but every vote failed 4-4. Theresa Miles resigned earlier this month citing health concerns, leaving eight members on the board. That allows for tied votes, meaning any proposal without a clear majority fails. Any of the plans to teach children in person in some capacity would have started on Oct. 5.

The meeting started with a recommendation by Administrator Keith Hilts to move from Plan C, which is virtual, to Plan B, which involves students attending 50% of the time in person and 50% of the time virtually. That allows for social distancing at school, Hilts explained.

The meeting was one of the first to feature community comment since the issue of school reopening began. Members of the group Parents for Reopening Wausau Schools petitioned the district to hold an open meeting in a place big enough for parents to attend in person and make comment.

Monday’s meeting was held at Longfellow Administration building as usual, but members of the group who came to protest were given a speaker by which to listen to the meeting in the parking and a separate room was provided. Speakers were brought into the meeting room one at a time to speak before the board.

The board made no decision on reopening schools Monday, and virtual learning will continue as is. The Wausau School Board will meet Sept. 28 in special session with more data to potentially make a further decision.