Fall River schools will go back to school before Sept. 1

The district is one of 10 in Wisconsin approved to start the 2021-2022 school year early.
The Fall River School District is one of 10 districts in Wisconsin approved to start the...
The Fall River School District is one of 10 districts in Wisconsin approved to start the 2021-2022 school year early.(WMTV)
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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FALL RIVER, Wis. (WMTV) - On Monday, August 30, Fall River schools will welcome students back to class.

The district is one of ten public school districts in Wisconsin that has requested and been approved for a waiver by DPI to start earlier than September 1 due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Superintendent Dennis Birr says the early start gives students and teachers time to adjust.

“Every educator knows that a learning day in August is more valuable than a learning day in June,” said Birr. “It’s just easier to move up a couple of days and get them started quicker and get them off to a good start for next year.”

The early start allows for more flexibility in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak after a return to in-person learning.

“If we can start a little bit early to get them caught back up that would be a good thing for us,” he said.

Birr says change is a constant for educators when planning out a school calendar.

“We’ve changed our schedule numerous times to meet the needs of our students and to help staff,” said Birr. “We’d like it to be as normal as a school year as possible so people can feel like they’re getting a full educational experience that we’re expecting.”

Fall River school nurse Jessica Sampolinski says an earlier start date allows her time to reeducate students about the safety protocols.

“Giving them the opportunity to come back and see their friends and putting them back together in those cohorts, I think is going to be really important,” said Sampolinski.

She says there will be a learning curve at every grade level.

“It’s a lot of just being able to pivot and go with the flow,” said Sampolinski. “Reducing the amount of time that they’re away from school is really going to be helpful.”

Birr says Fall River wants to have a close to normal of a school year as possible for 2021-2022.

“We know that in-person is always better so we’re looking to do everything we can to have our students here in school,” he said.

Moving forward, Birr said he’d prefer if school districts had more flexibility around the start date.

“There’s not a one size fits all model for education in Wisconsin,” he said. “We’d really rather have our kids in August as it’s more in line when they come back for athletic activities.”

The other schools that have applied and had their September 1 start date waiver requested approved by DPI for COVID-19 are listed below:

  • Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan
  • Durand-Arkansaw
  • Royall School District
  • Randolph School District
  • Stanley-Boyd School District
  • Cornell School District
  • Melrose-Mindoro School District
  • Brillion Public Schools
  • Granton School District

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