High School

Key Dates:

March 8th - Virtual asynchronous days, previously held on Wednesdays, will move to Mondays for all K-12 students (whether receiving instruction virtually or in-person) beginning.

April 13 - ACT for 11th Graders, No school for 9th, 10th and 12th grade

April 20 - Grades 9, 12 (two days in-person, two full days virtual)

April 27 - Grades 10-11 (two days in-person, two full days virtual)

Week of May 25th - students return that have switched their Returning Preference

Thank you for your continued collaboration, patience and support over the past year as we have navigated the COVID-19 global health pandemic, and worked to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families. During this time, we have continued to monitor COVID-19 metrics and receive guidance from public health experts. Recently, they have advised us conditions are favorable for us to move forward with the next phase of our reopening plan.

As a result, we are providing you with MMSD’s phased plan and schedule for returning to in-person instruction for all grade levels. Virtual learning will remain an option for all families who want their student(s) to continue learning remotely.

In addition, MMSD will begin a phased return of high school athletics and co-curricular activities.

Please be advised, you can expect to receive more detailed information from your school next week on this and a variety of other topics specific to your learner(s).

Again, we thank you for your continued support and partnership during these unprecedented times.

Concurrent Teaching what does it look like

What is Concurrent Instruction?

Teachers at the secondary level will utilize a Concurrent approach to instruction. There is no single format that will be used in every class. Teachers will use a combination of live interaction with in-person and at-home cohorts, small group work that may include students online and in class and independent or collaborative work time. The concurrent instruction model is one in which instruction is accessible by students in school and at-home at the same time. It is important that both groups and students are part of the classroom experience regardless of where they are physically. The instructor engages both groups of students by using technology to make the instruction clear and visible to the students learning at home and the students in person. Teachers will use Mondays for planning. Mondays will continue to be asynchronous learning days.

Students who prefer to continue full-time virtual learning will receive four days of teacher-led instruction while learning from home. The flexibility of the concurrent model demonstrates a commitment to student success, and this flexibility also allows for instruction to continue if there is a need to switch to all virtual learning.

Special Education Update Feb 2021 ~ Spanish ~ Hmong

Hybrid Model

We look forward to welcoming back our high school students in the Hybrid model. A hybrid approach to instruction combines face-to-face classroom instruction with virtual learning. This approach reduces the amount of seat time in a traditional face-to-face course and moves more of the course delivery online. During classroom instruction time, students can be engaged in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The online components can include multimedia-enhanced content and opportunities for ongoing discussion.

Hybrid Cohort Model

Hybrid in-person learners will be assigned to a cohort or group. Each cohort identifies the days in which the student will be attending in-person instruction and virtual learning. One cohort will attend in-person learning Tuesday and Wednesday, while the other cohort will attend in-person learning Thursday and Friday. High school students will also have online virtual learning in the afternoon on the days they attend school in-person in the mornings. Each cohort will receive online virtual learning instruction on the alternate days. All students will participate in asynchronous learning on Mondays. When each student cohort is in the building they will move between classrooms and instructors.

Why a Cohort?

Cohorting is a strategy that limits contact among students and staff in an effort to limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This strategy also allows for social distancing in our classrooms. These strategies work by:

  • keeping smaller groups of students together

  • decreasing opportunities for exposure or transmission of SARS-CoV-2

  • facilitating more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case

Instructional Space (Classrooms)

All instructional spaces are designed to accommodate no more than fifteen (15) students per classroom, and will adhere to the CDC/Public Health guidelines of maintaining 6ft distancing. The 6ft spacing will ensure that there will be limited close contact opportunities. In addition, every instructional and non-instructional space will operate observing all of the mitigation strategies that have been established as protocol for safety. We also put extra precautions, limitations and mitigation efforts in place for courses that may be more hands-on (i.e physical education, performing art, culinary arts).


Hybrid FAQs

  • We will be assigning groups1 & 2 keeping siblings within the same cohort and attending school on the same day (unless a parent notifies the school principal that they prefer siblings be assigned to opposite cohorts). We are unable to accept requests.

  • Curriculum and instruction will take place every day and will move forward every day. During their at-home days, students will be utilizing a variety of resources including simulcasting, pre-recorded lessons and synchronous class sessions to continue learning and be directly connected with their teacher.

  • Teachers at the secondary level will utilize a Concurrent approach to instruction. There is no single format that will be used in every class. Teachers will use a combination of live interaction with in-person and at-home cohorts, small group work that may include students online and in class and independent or collaborative work time.

  • Cohorts were established considering many factors and individual requests will be taken into consideration based on the ability to ensure our safety mitigation strategies within our buildings. If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to your school. Families do also have the option to switch back to virtual learning at any time.

Reopening Plans

Find your high school's individual reopening plan here:

health and Safety Link

Read the Return to Work or School Flowchart

a school building iconSafety in our Buildings

We've made several adjustments in preparation for students and staff to return to buildings, whether that be soon or next year. Some of those are outlined below:

Air Quality

In November our school board approved a proposal for nearly $300,000 in medical-grade filters in all our buildings' air handling systems. In addition, we have adjusted our HVAC settings so that we are getting as much fresh air into buildings as possible. In winter, this means we need to burn a bit more natural gas to keep buildings warm, but we are doing everything we can to bring as much fresh air in.

Every 10 minutes, the entire volume of each classroom's air is circulated and filtered. We have adjusted the system to allow for even more fresh air to enter the system by flushing the air two hours prior to 6:00 a.m. and for 2 hours again at the end of each day.

Water Safety

Stagnant water can be a concern when a building's water systems are not in use, so we have followed procedures for ensuring sure our water is safe. Based on recommendations from the CDC, Public Health Madison & Dane County, and ESPRI (Environmental Science, Policy, and Research Institute), MMSD has developed an Unoccupied Domestic Water Flushing Procedure that is being performed every two weeks during periods when buildings have little water usage.

This procedure is designed to flush out all stagnant water from the plumbing system. Shower heads, faucets, sprayers, and aerators are also cleaned during each plumbing system flush.

Navigating and Signage

While teaching and practicing healthy behaviors such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and covering coughs will be our primary means of maintaining healthy environments, signage will supplement these efforts and serve as reminders of healthy practices. Some signs contain information in three languages English, Hmong and Spanish. These will be displayed at building entrances and in areas close to building entrances, Welcome Centers and main offices.

View hand washing and hand rubbing signs and how to safely wear your mask sign.
View other signage.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Custodial and Maintenance staff will focus on “high touch-point” disinfection cleaning as the first priority. High touch-point areas include desks, tabletops, doorknobs, railings, light and water fixtures, restroom stall door locks, elevator buttons, countertops, chair arms, and phones.

Classroom floors will be wet mopped a minimum of twice per week and spot mopped daily as needed. All classrooms have been outfitted with classroom cleaning kits which will be restocked on a daily basis by our custodians.

Families with students in band

We're excited to report that starting next week, students will be able to play band instruments together in person, both outside and inside.

We'll follow several health and safety protocols developed from research done at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland in the Wind Instrument Aerosol Study. These protocols are in line with the requirements and recommended strategies under Emergency Order #16. (You can see them at work in this YouTube video.)

Here are some highlights:

  • While playing indoors, students will wear a special mask that allows the mouthpiece of their instrument to go through the mask. They will also have a mask-like cover for the bell of their instrument. These masks will be provided by school and given to students the first day they play. (You can see what these look like in the video linked above, or you can find photos here.)

  • Students will maintain a distance of 6 feet or more while playing, indoors or out.

  • Playing time will be 30 minutes or less for indoor classes and rehearsals, with time allowed in between for room air exchange.

Band teachers have been going over these updates with students and discussing details including:

  • How instruments should be managed and stored at school, and when they are to be taken back home.

  • Which musicians might only bring their mouthpiece or mallets to school with them, and what should be left at home.

  • Which books, if any, students should bring with them.


  • TBD. We are working out the details now.

  • This is TBD. Sites are in the planning phase to see if we remain in block or transition back to the 7 period day.

  • We are working out the details now.

  • It is not recommended that students leave for lunch at this time. However, we are working on plans to ensure that students can safely eat their lunch in the classroom or with staggered seating in the cafeteria.

  • We are in the planning phase. We will use schools to help problem-solve this question.

  • Each school is aware of many of the students that are not engaged virtually. Each site has created systems to continue to search for/contact these students and their families to attempt to re-engage the students. We are also still working on connectivity concerns to support re-engagement as well.

  • That is our hope. We know that screen time/virtually learning has created time constraints to focus on the scope and sequence of AP curriculum. Our teachers are doing the best that they can to properly prepare students for the AP exam.

  • We know many of our students, families and staff are carrying a great deal of anxiety and stress as we approach a decision, whether the decision is to return in person or continue with virtual learning. We recognize that both scenarios involve adapting to significant changes. Whatever decision is made, we will be ready to support the needs of our staff, our students and their families.

  • Our goal is to support students' needs while limiting the number of environments staff and students are exposed to. When that is not possible, staff should follow all district prescribed Health and Safety procedures, including using the medical-grade PPE issued by Student Services and obtained through the school Health Office.

  • This is a rapidly changing situation, so we recommend consulting the latest information released by Public Health Madison Dane County.

  • As we begin a phased return to in-person instruction, we need to shift from Wednesday to Monday asynchronous learning based on recommendations from health experts to allow for three consecutive days of deep cleaning of facilities when students are not present.

Athletics & Co-curricular FAQ

Athletics Timeline

Phased in Plan for High School Athletics and Co-curricular

Start dates


After 4pm activities

Week of 3/15

Girls tennis and cross country

Start Individual small group contact

Week of 3/22

Track & Field, Boys tennis

Start Individual small group contact

Week of 3/29

Spring Break schedule

Softball, baseball, soccer

(Likely offsite on turf)

Small group team activities maintaining 6 ft at all times

Week of 4/5

Cross country, girls golf, girls tennis

Potential competitions within MMSD schools

Week of 4/12

Co-curricular clubs

Outdoor after school options

Week of 4/19

Start WIAA spring sports

Outdoor only activities

Week of 5/17 thru 6/10

Indoor and protective equipment sports

Contact days and culminating events

  • Contact days (small group)

    Season Dates




    Girls Swim and Dive



    Girls Golf



    Girls Tennis



    Boys Soccer



    Cross Country


    4/5- 5/7




    Track & Field

    3/22- 4/9




    4/19 - 6/30




    Boys Tennis



    Boys Golf



    Girls Soccer



    Boys Swim and Dive


    complete virtual



    complete virtual



    complete virtual



    complete virtual



    complete virtual



    complete virtual

  • These will be optional and small group activities where 6 ft of distance is maintained at all times allowing us to pilot mitigation strategies and systems.

  • These dates will be as we look to phase in program practices and potentially competitions

  • Based on our medical advisors and NFHS phased reopening guidance indoor activities and sports with high contact and use protective equipment have a higher transmissibility. Additionally, we will not use indoor spaces or locker rooms as the buildings prepare to open for all students for instruction and the increased spread potential in those environments. We hope to provide activities for all programs at some point during this spring.

  • We would advise students to prioritize the Spring season activities over contact days as we phase-in for the most robust experience, students are only able to participate in one co-curricular activity at a time.

  • Like in-person instruction, we plan to use a phased approach to restarting in-person athletics and all co-curricular activities. Our medical advisory team reviews and provides feedback weekly on appropriate timing and mitigation strategies. We also have a coach and student advisory that is providing feedback.

  • Based on the schedule and cohorting of groups there may be restrictions on who gets to participate in activities on certain days depending on if they are in-school that day or coming from home and gathering size limits, activities taking place unattached to the in-person school day reduce contacts and gatherings so may be feasible.

  • Competition status will be determined on a sport specific basis by March 26th, participation in end-of-season WIAA competitions will be determined 30 days prior to the end of the specific season.

  • If we do not return to in-person activities prior to the end of the WIAA calendar, dates we will provide in-person contact days as allowable near the end of the school year. This will be communicated by March 26th at the latest and it will be specific to sport.

  • Phased approach, field conditions and weather more likely to be usable, acclimatization and resumption of activity is gradual. Spring sports also lost the Spring 2020 season, so we are focusing on them while still giving all students opportunities this school year to reconnect in person with their desired activities.

  • At this time we are limiting participation to one face-to-face co-curricular at a time. For example, if a student is participating in a sport they can not participate in a second face-to-face co-curricular activity such as a club.

  • Through contact tracing our health services staff will determine if any other students or staff are considered close contacts, who will then quarantine for 10 days. Other factors are also considered, and in some cases an entire class may need to quarantine.

  • This would depend on the type of activity and level of contact. In low/no contact individual sports (i.e. golf, tennis, cross country, track and field) a suspension of activities will be dependent on the number of close contacts identified. In medium/high contact team sports the cohort or team with the positive test will suspend activities for 14 days, but only individual close contact will need to quarantine. When we have 2 or more positive tests in a cohort or team of any program type the program will suspend activities for 14 days. Different cohorts are completely isolated from one another, and are determined by different arrival and departure times, or in a separate, designated location at all times.

  • This would depend on the type of activity and level of contact. In low/no contact individual sports (i.e. golf, tennis, cross country, track and field) a suspension of activities will be dependent on the number of close contacts identified. In medium and high contact sports the cohort or team would suspend activities for 14 days, and close contacts would need to quarantine.

  • Students can return to school from quarantine after 10 days, and to athletics after 14 days. Negative tests do not impact the length of quarantine, and students are not required to have a negative test before returning.

  • Students participating in co-curriculars are required to complete the co-curricular screener every day (even if the answer to all 3 is no) and SEPERATE from school screener.

  • At this time vaccine status does not impact quarantine for students. We will continue to revisit this as increasing numbers of students are vaccinated.


  • The district looked closely at all the metrics available at the time of the decision. The following were factors in making this decision:

    • As recommended by Public Health of Madison-Dane County, these metrics include the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Dane County. We want to see the 14-day average of new cases to be 43 or fewer per day before returning to in-person instruction for grades 6-12. Through January 4th, the 14-day average was 168 per day.
    • Dane County had a high positivity rate of 5.8% (Public Health’s benchmark is 5% or below)
    • Dane County has a large number of cases (32%) over the most recent 14 day period who don't know where they could have gotten COVID-19 (Public Health’s benchmark is 20%)
    • Dane County Public Health is only able to contact 45% of positive cases within 48 hours. (Public Health’s benchmark is 85%)

    Also, a group representing high school guidance staff, assistant principals, central office staff, building services and nursing services staff met to determine what can be done as well as the pros and cons of any decision. This group recommended that the PSAT not be given in support of the safety of students and staff.

    National tests scores have been waived for admission by the majority of colleges and universities in the United States. As the tests are currently optional, this also factored into the decision.

  • In conversations with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, there is a way to seek qualification without taking the PSAT. This process is summarized below:

    1. Go to the NMS website (https://www.nationalmerit.org/). Click on the “Resources” tab on the right. You will find a link to Alternate Entry information. The document outlines exactly what students need to do in order to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship. Please pay close attention to timelines!

    2. One requirement is to take the SAT anytime between August 2020 and June, 2021. You can register for the SAT through the College Board website:


      On this site students will find locations where the test will be given. Students may take the SAT at any location that is giving the test. All fees will be paid by the student.

  • Your student’s high school counselor is likely the best place to go for specific information. Additional questions can be sent to Tim Peterson, Director of Assessment, at: tpeterson2@madison.k12.wi.us

  • Graduation FAQ

    • High schools are forming committees to begin planning. More information to come.