Second Semester Update

Second Semester Update
Posted on 01/27/2022
Second Semester Update

Parents/Guardians of Students in Lake Geneva Schools, 


The second semester of the 2021-2022 school year has just begun and I hope that your child(ren) had a successful and rewarding first semester of the school year. It has been an interesting ride for the past (almost) two years, but your support for our schools has been sincerely appreciated. 


On a personal note, I want to thank all of you for your support of our schools as I complete my educational career in the Lake Geneva Schools on June 30, 2022. I have had the privilege to work with you as parents and so many great kids and staff members for the past twenty-two+ years at Lake Geneva Schools and in my educational career which spans 51 years. Thank you for sending us your very best! The success we have had as a school district has so much to do with the great students and the fine families that entrust their children to us. I sincerely hope the education your children receive in our schools will help to open doors of opportunity for them in the future. I have been proud to be an educator and proud of what our students have been able to accomplish in and after leaving our system.


As we move forward in the second semester and beyond, we need to continue to attempt to normalize the educational environment for our students. We do recognize that the health concerns facing our world, nation, state, and our local community have made that a difficult task. The educational systems at all levels (preschool through college) have been diluted through attendance issues, virtual platforms, closures, etc. Couple this with the various levels of anxiety facing parents, staff, and students of all ages, and the challenge to normalize is even greater but even more important! Our challenge as a school system, working together with parents, is to continue to keep our composure and calm in this challenging environment. This is a recipe for success for our students to have a productive educational experience during the second semester. 


In relation to the pandemic, we know that infection levels have been high across the state, county, and within our local community. Fortunately, the new variant (Omicron) has not been as debilitating as the first (Delta). Hopefully, that trend will continue. However, the new variant has been more contagious. Due to this widespread exposure, it is safe to assume that you and your students have experienced some level of exposure either in or outside of our schools. With that, I am still confident that we will be able to keep our doors open and students and staff healthy for the remainder of the school year.


Due to this widespread exposure of all individuals and like many surrounding school districts, Lake Geneva Schools is no longer sending home close contact letters to entire classrooms/low-risk contacts. We have to assume that students have experienced some level of exposure. Like everything COVID-related, this is not saying that a letter will never be sent home. We are handling each situation on a case-by-case basis. This decision was made in cooperation with Walworth County Public Health. Furthermore, our contact tracing will be focused on the household as this is where the spread has been primarily found. As always, this could change in the changing landscape of the pandemic. We recently made adjustments to our health plan that were shared with you by email on January 4th. Please continue to monitor our website 2021-2022 COVID-19 Resource Center and our 2021-2022 Health Plan for the latest information.


I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of our health staff! All positions in our districts have been most challenging over almost the past two years, but our health staff has had the most difficult of assignments in trying to keep our schools open, kids and staff healthy while under siege from all directions. Our health staff is highly trained in an area of expertise most of us do not have and they have access to the latest health information. I sincerely hope that you will cooperate with them as they communicate with you regarding the health concerns of your children. Please be reminded that keeping your children home when they are sick will help all of us stay healthier. 


In addition to pandemic issues, as winter continues in full swing, cold and snowy weather also brings the possibility of delays and school cancellations. Although our districts have no set policy regarding cold weather and wind chills, it is highly probable that we would close schools if we had a wind chill WARNING. We DO NOT plan to close schools if there is a wind chill advisory. A wind chill WARNING is usually declared when wind chills reach -35 in our area. In the case of snow delay or closure, we work very closely with our bus company and other area school districts in determining a possible closure or delay. That decision will be made as early as possible with calls made to staff and families with the necessary information. At this point, we will not have virtual days if school is canceled for snow or cold for the first two days. We may have to make up days or have virtual days if we exceed two cancellations.


In the last couple of years, we have had to focus on health concerns more than any of us thought would ever be the case when in the field of education. Winter weather, well, that has always been a challenge in Wisconsin. With that, I sincerely hope we can focus on our mission to provide the best education possible to the students of our district with the high hope that they will become “respectful, responsible citizens”  in our ever-changing world. I am extremely confident that the staff and the parents of our community, working together, have the ability to do just that! Yes, the challenges continue to be great as the 2021-2022 school year progresses, but we owe it to the children/students of our districts to work together to make this year as educationally productive as possible for all.


Thank you for your support and I have high hopes for a successful second semester of the 2021-2022 school year.


Dr. James Gottinger

District Administrator

Lake Geneva Schools

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