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Three Lakes School District makes plans for school yearSubmitted: 08/06/2020
Story By Nate Meihak

Three Lakes School District makes plans for school year
THREE LAKES -

Students and parents have been patiently waiting to hear from local school districts on what classes will look like in the fall.

Last night, the Three Lakes School District flipped the script, they instead took questions from community members to hear their concerns.

Educating is a stressful job, now imagine trying to plan a school year around a global pandemic, and combine that with answering questions from nearly 130 parents in one night. That's a day in Teri Maney's shoes.

"It was truly a listening session...this was laying the groundwork so people have an idea of what we're planning and thinking about at the district," Maney said. 

 Those plans primarily aim to have students back in the classroom full time.

 "That would be our goal to return on site five days a week," she added. 

But with COVID-19 showing no signs of letting up in the U.S. backup plans will be in place for any changes.

"Our next level would be a blended approach," Maney added, "We're keeping our primary focus on elementary students being on site and that might mean for our junior high and high school, a little shift of scheduling."

Three Lakes would then approach any positive cases in the district through guidelines from Oneida and Vilas county health officials.

"We also have a plan for if we would have a positive identification in a grade level, or a teacher, or if there's a teacher. We would not want to shut down the entire district," Maney explained. 

But if things don't go as planned, Three Lakes will be fully prepared for online classes.

"The last level, level four, that would be fully remote instruction."

The school board will vote on Monday night at 6:30 whether or not they will continue with the district's plan. 





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MERRILL - Grampa's Farm in Merrill like a lot of businesses have had to adapt because of COVID.

"We've expanded our hours and we've expanded our play areas to include more things and outdoor space," said Jered Severt, operator at Grampa's Farm.

But change is something that Severt and his family are used to.

"The dairy industry just wasn't working out for the smaller farmer," Severt said.

Severt and his family have had their barn for over 100 years.

"When I was born I came back to this farm," Severt said. "When my father was born he came back to this farm. My grandfather and his father and the previous father have all worked the soil here and have been a part of Grampa's Farm."

And without all the help from his family and friends, he knows none of this would be possible.

"It still continues to be family run but friends and neighbors," Severt said. "A lot of people working together to make this happen for a lot of other people." 

For more information on Grampa's Farm check out their website.

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MILWAUKEE - Demonstrations in Wisconsin over a grand jury's decision not to indict Louisville, Kentucky police officers in Breonna Taylor's death were relatively peaceful with protesters in Milwaukee blocking traffic on an interstate.

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MADISON - On September 22nd the United States hit a staggering 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. Wisconsin alone has 100,000 cases. The high numbers of deaths and cases can be lowered by modifying our behaviors and by wearing a mask properly.

There have been revisions to the mask mandate. Originally, it was said that only people not feeling well are required to wear it. It was changed when it was discovered that just talking could cause an outbreak.

Dr. Jeff Pothof of UW Madison Health spoke about how not wearing a mask can affect your long term health.

"People who had no idea they were sick had enough virus where they could spread it and the only thing they needed to do to spread it was talk to someone else," said Pothof.

COVID-19 is all across the country and not wearing a mask is putting yourself and the people around you at risk.

"There is no way you can know. It is everywhere right now. To think that you live in a location where COVID-19 hasn't reached yet is just not true," said Pothof.

To ensure you're protected, wear a cloth mask that is two layers thick to prevent your droplets from escaping and to protect from other droplets.

Make sure to wash your cloth masks once a week and change paper masks once every three to 5 days.

"They need to cover your nose and your mouth. If you only cover your mouth, the mask is not effective. Those droplets are coming out your nose and it just doesn't work," said Pothof.

For those thinking there's no repercussions from catching COVID-19, there are health risks that can be long term and affect your everyday life.

"People who have had COVID-19 may not ever return to normal lung function and that can impact them in ways such as in physical exertion and their ability to do things. Their physical stamina may decreased because their lungs are no longer as effective as they were before they had COVID-19," said Pothof.

The other long term health risks of COVID-19 is an inflamed heart.

"Likewise people that have an inflamed heart muscle tissue their hearts don't pump as effectively. The more severe COVID-19 the more inflammation they saw in the heart muscle. And we don't know how long that will last. The more severe the COVID-19 the more inflammation they saw in the heart muscle," said Pothof.

In cities like Madison and Milwaukee, their hospitals are equipped to handle a large influx of people and have special wards to combat COVID-19--unlike the smaller hospitals in our communities.

"Even if you have a small outbreak , you're going to quickly strip the healthcare resources in your community and when that happens only bad things happen to those people," said Pothof.

Make sure to mask up properly, to keep your loved ones and your community safe. For more information, you can visit the CDC website.

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"We don't have enough classroom space. The classroom space we have was built in '68 so they were built small. Very little daylight. Some of them don't have any windows," Sullivan said. "We're using every nook and cranny. Every office space we can.
The referendum will also provide an additional gym and theater space.The proposed referenda would cost the public 53 dollar tax impact on a 100,000 household property. The district has already lowered their original proposal to match the public's feedback after the District released a survey.
Ultimately, the lack of space is not just an academic struggle for students, but one regarding their safety.
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The district will be having open house Q & A sessions about the proposal later next month. In the mean time, families can reach out to the district to schedule a tour to see the school for themselves. 

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