BREAKING NEWS: Craig online starting Nov. 17

David Holmquist, Criterion Adviser

Craig High School has pivoted to online instruction for the second time in the 2020-21 school year.

The news was first announced on Friday, Nov. 13.

“We have been tracking the number of students and staff on quarantine, and we have reached a threshold to require a pivot online,” said principal Dr. Bjoin.

The school district noticed these numbers, too. During a special session on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the school board voted 8-1 to finish the semester online. All of Janesville’s secondary schools will follow this new schedule.

Elementary schools will remain in-person but are prepared to pivot back online if a case spike occurs.

In his remarks to the school board, Superintendent Steve Pophal described two choices for the board to make: cohort instruction, which Craig had been doing since early October, or virtual teaching.

“Do you want to be kicked in the shin, or punched in the stomach?” he said of the choices. “There is no easy answer,” he said, because “every solution involves trade-offs and risks.”

The data shows that “the virus is really out of control,” said Pophal.

Dave Groth, who leads the Janesville Education Association, spoke in favor of the move to virtual learning.

He said that virtual learning must be done “for safety’s sake.”

“The JEA is calling for safety to be the first and foremost priority,” he said, adding “Student lessons are differentiated. The on- and off-again plan (of cohort learning) is bad for kids’ learning.”

Plus, he said that teachers are under “a high level of stress.”

While the pivot online will be new for Parker, Edison, and Franklin, it is something that Craig’s and Marshall’s teachers are used to.

Craig’s first week back online ended on Friday, Nov. 20. The Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving will be cleaning days for the schools, and students will not report. Secondary teachers will prepare for online instruction starting Nov. 30.

Students will attend online classes every day.

Hour 1 will start at 8:30, and classes will run for 30 minutes, with five minutes in between classes.

After 5th hour at 11:20, students will break for lunch. Craig will continue providing free drive-thru lunches.

Sixth through 8th hour will run from 12:05-1:45.

From 2:00 until 3:45, students will be able to meet with teachers for extra help. Some teachers may require students to convene in small groups.

While Craig’s academic schedule is moving online, athletics will proceed.

In a separate vote, the board voted 6-3 in favor of resuming athletics.

Practices will be modified, and game attendance will be limited to only two spectators per athlete and essential workers.