MARINETTE — Marinette School District Superintendent Corry Lambie gave the Board of Education an update Tuesday on the “reconnecting” effort, getting students back to school and helping them adjust to schooling during the pandemic.

“Right now, we’re roughly at about 20% of our students that have elected to go online with at-home learning as their model. You saw last month that our team has done a ton of work around that,” he said.

Lambie said there are still some details that are being worked through regarding helping students and families fully understand what at-home learning looks like. “We met with our cabinet and talked about how we can do a better job of cleaning up some of that work, just to make sure parents are aware of what’s transpired and what we’ll be moving towards as we move forward.”

Another point of discussion in the cabinet meeting along this vein was whether or not the expectations were appropriate for at-home learning, and as an example, Lambie mentioned that the cabinet discussed such things as science labs and other traditionally on-site lessons and how those could work for students who opted for distanced learning.

Since last month, Lambie said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has modified some of the pandemic guidelines and has created a 36-page guidebook specifically for education in order to help schools educate their students. He said the Marinette School District has also been working with the county and other neighboring school districts to help this year’s education run as smoothly as possible.

“I want to make sure you (the board) are aware of how hard your employees are working for you and for our kids. It’s not just the teachers, but this is a totally new world for our teachers and they have handled it without complaint, and it is not easy for them every single day,” he said.

“Our teachers have gone above and beyond, but that doesn’t exclude our admin team; our admin assistants are also people on the front lines — parent calls, drop-offs, lunches, nurses, human resources — they’re always right there willing to serve. It is truly a team effort. I get to see it every day; we are surrounded by great people,” Lambie said.

Lambie said the district developed a “Reconnecting to Schools” guidebook, which quotes the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction regarding implementation of physical distancing, cohorting of students and staff, regular cleaning and disinfecting, and proper use of face coverings and hand-washing, which the DPI says all have a direct impact the transmission of COVID-19 in school settings. “DHS has definitely ramped up the game a little bit. There’s some things we need to be cognisant of as we move forward with planning on how we handle positive cases, contact tracing and those people who are involved,” he said.

After Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate ends Sept. 28, Lambie said the district’s current COVID-19 related practices will continue, including the wearing of face masks.