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School Board Approves Reopening Framework for 2020-21 School Year

Last night, the Wauwatosa School Board voted to approve the Reopening Framework proposed by the District. This framework provides families with options for meeting their own unique needs and the needs of their student(s). You can find the presentation deck here


With the approval of this framework, families will have the opportunity to enroll their student(s) in a virtual learning environment or in the District’s Phase Into Learning model, which allows for flexible, fluid models of instruction that are dependent on the COVID-19 environment and encourage a safe transition back to face-to-face learning. 


Phase Into Learning 

As the COVID-19 climate changes, this approach empowers us to be fully confident, responsive and adaptive during these uncertain times. The initial model of instruction for the Phase Into Learning approach will be determined by the Board on or before August 24, 2020 and will be based on advice and guidance provided by our medical/public health advisory panel. The model of instruction may change throughout the year as the COVID-19 climate dictates. 


The Phase Into Learning approach provides staff with a two-week professional learning and orientation period that will build a culture that promotes public health and safety. This will involve implementing and practicing safety protocols; running mock schedules; using Canvas, our new learning management system; and increasing the focus on social emotional learning. 


If the Board determines that conditions are appropriate, we will then conduct a one-week in-person orientation with students to establish new norms for safety and focus on social emotional learning. Students will be separated into A/B cohorts. Cohort A will participate in orientation on Tuesday / Wednesday, and Cohort B will participate on Thursday / Friday. This orientation will only be conducted if students and staff are able to report to District buildings. If conditions dictate a full-virtual return to learning, this student orientation period will be cancelled and students enrolled in this phased framework will begin virtual learning four days per week starting on September 8, 2020. 


Following student orientation, and again, if conditions allow, we will implement a hybrid model of instruction for one week, with two days of in-person learning and three days of virtual instruction. Cohort A will attend classroom instruction on Monday and Tuesday and Cohort B will attend classroom instruction on Thursday and Friday. 


From that point forward, the model of instruction will be determined by the School Board and guided by advice and metrics provided by our medical/public health advisory panel. The Board will consider the following models of instruction: 

  • Virtual learning - synchronous and asynchronous online learning conducted four days per week from students’ homes. 
  • Hybrid model - A/B student cohorts learn in-person two days per week, and learn virtually from home three days per week. Additional safety and sanitization procedures will be implemented and masks will be required. Exceptions to mask-wearing requirements will be made on an individual basis, based on the recommendation of a physician. 
  • Classroom learning - in-person instruction conducted five days per week in school buildings. Additional safety and sanitization procedures will be implemented and masks will be required. Exceptions to mask-wearing requirements will be made on an individual basis, based on the recommendation of a physician. 


Again, based on advice and guidance from our medical / public health panel, the School Board is committed to determining the initial model of instruction for the phased-in approach on or before Monday, August 24, 2020. If all circumstances are favorable, the earliest date students would return to District buildings for full-time classroom learning is Monday, September 21, 2020. 


The Board will make ongoing assessments and will adjust the model of instruction as needed, based on the COVID-19 climate and recommendations from the medical/public health panel.


Virtual Learning 

Families who wish to provide their student(s) with a virtual learning experience will have the ability to enroll their student(s) in one of our virtual options:  

  • Tosa Connected - District curriculum taught by Wauwatosa School District educators in a synchronous online format for students JK-8. 
    • Please note that we are working diligently to explore Tosa Connected courses for students in grades 9-12. More information will be shared in the coming weeks. 
  • Wauwatosa Virtual Academy - asynchronous online learning that maximizes flexibility and resembles a more traditional homeschool learning environment in a digital format. 
    • WVA is available for students K-12. 

All students enrolled in virtual learning via Tosa Connected or Wauwatosa Virtual Academy will begin classes on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. 


Next Steps 

The District is continuing to assess and modify this framework by: 

  • Investigating solutions that will provide families with five-day-per-week, small-group care for students that cannot be left home alone.
  • Exploring further development of Tosa Connected to include possible opportunities for high school students. 
  • Finalizing the medical / public health advisory panel. The panel will be tasked with expeditiously providing insight into key metrics for analysis and consideration by the Board

The District is also prioritizing proactive, frequent communication with staff, families, students and the community. Updates and important announcements will also be posted online at


In the weeks to come, families will be asked to choose the appropriate learning option for their student(s). We will ask that families complete a form provided by the District to indicate the chosen instructional model for each student in their household. In the meantime, families, staff and students are encouraged to submit questions using the Contact form on our Reopening page. We will use those questions to update the FAQ page as decisions are finalized. 


Please visit for additional information, FAQs, videos and more.