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 Original article can be found at We Are Green Bay.

Dena Voltz; March 27, 2020

MANAWA, Wis. (WFRV) — “Originally we thought it was reasonable for us to be ready in one to two years.” District Administrator, Dr. Melanie Oppor said of the School District’s readiness to provide virtual learning.

That had to change real fast… and the staff stepped up.

Once a mandatory shut down of schools was ordered, most schools already had online learning as an option. For smaller, rural school districts like Manawa, they had to come up with a solution almost overnight… and they did.

Dr. Oppor says she met with the IT director along with staff and over a weekend they created a virtual learning platform. By Monday they were, “ready to roll.”

Everyone on the staff embraced the new development and didn’t miss a beat.

For students with strong cellular connectivity, the learning platform, Kajeet is used. The District Administrator says this is a great way to keep seeing their teachers, their friends faces and keep that social connection.

Ensuring no student is left behind, those with less than ideal internet connections have the ability to receive their coursework on a USB drive. They can then do their work and save it on that same USB drive and return it when daily meals are delivered.

Yes, daily meals. Delivered right to their door. For free.

The school district also came up with a meal program so students aren’t missing meals they would normally be getting at school.

“Now more than ever, it’s important for our families living in rural areas to have food.” Oppor says. They deliver both breakfast and lunch every day of the week for anyone 18 years and younger.

Even better, it’s available to anyone. A child does not need to be enrolled in public school to participate.

As of today, the meal prep program is serving 341 meals to 150 different families across the Manawa school district. All of the meals are put together and delivered by dedicated staff and volunteers.

Dr. Oppor told Local 5, “It’s been so rewarding.” there’s no person-to-person contact so they often see families waving from the window as bus drivers or delivery staff drop off meals on their doorknob or just outside the door.

They have been receiving handwritten Thank You cards from some of the children. “It is just heartwarming.” She says.

The Manawa community has never been connected this closely. Dr. Oppor adds, “It’s a trying time for everyone. It’s been extremely stressful and exhausting, but I’ve never seen more smiles.”

Anyone within the boundaries of the school district of Manawa may sign up their children, ages 0-18 for free breakfast and lunch by calling the Manawa Elementary School at 920-596-2238, or Little Wolf Jr./Sr. high school offices at 920-596-2525.

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