Cost per student Mercer $26,433,
Wis. $13,505, Nation $11,762
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 421 Wis. districts

Friday, September 25, 2020

Good Thinking



The Mercer School District has come up with a plan which it believes will provide a safe way for students to resume their educations this fall.  The Covid-19 virus continues to infect an increasing number of Iron County residents with the count up to 118 today.  On a per capita basis Iron County has the highest percentage of Covid-19 cases of all counties in Wisconsin and all counties east of the Mississippi River.


Still undecided is what to do about the Mercer School’s fall sports program – football, volleyball and cross country. Mercer/Butternut eight-player football is in the Lakeland Conference, which has not decided how to proceed.  A few conference schools have already indicated that they will not be playing this fall.  Volleyball and cross country fall within the Indianhead Conference and the conference administrators were to meet last night to decide whether to play this fall or move the fall schedule to next spring.


Even for those Mercer residents who do not have children in the Mercer School, its carefully thought-out Back to School Plan is worth reading.  It follows:


Mercer School District


Information for Fall 2020


Welcome Tiger Families,


            The Mercer School District is dedicated to providing a safe place for students to learn. We welcome your input into how we can better serve our students and families during these historic times. We are so excited and hopeful that we will be able to see everyone in person on September 1st.

            The dedicated staff of the Mercer School District is looking forward to a year full of a variety of learning experiences while also anticipating challenges along the way due to COVID-19. We thank all the families for working with the school and teachers to keep students’ education a high priority. We are welcoming some new staff members this year: Maddi Piburn will be teaching 6th grade, Sarah Rand-Engler will be teaching 7-12 Science,, Colin Anderson will be teaching 7-12 Social Studies, and Jonathan Erickson will be our new music teacher beginning in January. Please help me welcome them all to our Tiger Family.

            Throughout the school year, we will follow guidance from state and local health department officials regarding school opening or possible closures. While we are altering certain aspects of the school day, our goal is to maintain the most normal environment possible while keeping students and staff safe. As we open school, each person must understand the role they play on keeping everyone safe. It is imperative that if you or your child are experiencing any flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, chills, sore throat, etc) that you keep your child home. We will be discontinuing any perfect attendance awards this year so no one feels compelled to come to school.


I look forward to seeing all of you soon!

Ms. Sheri Kopka

Mercer School District Administrator


We have three instructional options for students at the Mercer School this year.

     In-Person Learning

     All students PK-12 attend in person five days per week.

     Staff and students are encouraged to wear face coverings on the bus and in common areas of the school.

     Classrooms will be arranged to promote social distancing.

     Blended/Virtual Instruction

     Teachers will broadcast live from their classrooms to students who are not able to attend in person for any reason.

     Homework will be sent home and technology will be provided to access online learning.

     Virtual Learning

     We expect that at times the Mercer School may need to close to students. During this time teachers will move to full-time virtual instruction with a schedule to be provided.

     Teachers will instruct students daily and homework assignments will be posted online in Google classrooms.


Physical Spaces

     Desks will be placed six feet apart in all classrooms to the extent possible.

     Social distancing will be taught and practiced throughout the school

     Safety signage will be placed throughout the school.

     Drinking fountains will allow bottle filling only.

     We will create an isolation room for ill students and staff

     Outdoor learning areas are being created.

     Specials classes are encouraged to be held outside to the extent possible.


Healthy Environments

     Cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be set daily and weekly.

     High touch surfaces and common use areas will be disinfected throughout the day.

     Sharing of objects will be limited- all students will have their own technology and supplies to be used.

     Hand hygiene will be taught and practiced throughout the day.

     Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms without a sink.

     Additional cleaning will occur throughout the building.

     Custodial staff will complete recycling.



Daily Operations

     Visitors- Limit non-essential visitors and visits. (Essential visitors will need a health screening and be required to wear a face covering)

     Students should limit the interaction outside of the classroom environment.

     Face Coverings- face coverings are encouraged by students and staff in all common areas of the building and when social distancing is not possible.

     Field trips- field trips are generally not allowed unless it is by one class to an outdoor space.

     Gatherings- no gathering of people is permitted at this time (no fundraising activities unless approved by the school)

     Families are asked to check their child/ren before sending them to school for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and keep them at home when ill.

     Teachers are required to check themselves for any symptoms each morning and not come to the building if they are showing any symptoms.

     Staff- staff may be reassigned as needed to cover the daily needs of the school prioritizing student learning and safety.

     Morning announcements will be conducted every day via Zoom at 8 am.

     Outdoor learning spaces are being created for use by teachers.

     To be counted for attendance students will need to either be present in school or log in online.



     Students are encouraged to wear a face-covering on the bus

     Each student will have an assigned seat on the bus and must remain in their seat.

     Seating arrangements will be based on social distancing, family groups, and daily groups.

     Busses will be cleaned after each run.

     Hand sanitizer will be available on the bus.

     Families are encouraged to transport their children to school and a survey has been sent to determine who is riding the bus to design a seating chart.

     Students should practice social distancing at the bus stop.

     Parent pick-up will occur from 3:15-3:25 or after the busses have left.

     The front of the school will have a one-way flow of traffic in the morning and afternoon.

     Parents will not be allowed in the building to pick-up students. Students will be escorted out to the parents waiting in the parent pick-up area.

     Bus arrival in the morning will be staggered to prevent the overlap of students in the hall to the extent possible. Busses will begin dropping off at 7:45.

     End of day release will occur with 9-12 being released at 3:28 followed by 7-8 at 3:30. PK-6 will have a staggered release to decrease the number of students in the hallway at any one time.


Cafeteria and Lunch

     Students in grades Pk-8 will eat lunch in their classrooms.

     Lunch will be brought to the room on trays.

     Teachers may not eat lunch together and are encouraged to eat in their classrooms.


Playground and Recess

     Groups will have assigned spaces outdoors for play.

     Students in grades PK-6 will have both a morning and afternoon recess.

     There will be a schedule for use of the playground area with a minimum of 15 minutes between each group using the equipment.


Registration/Conferences/Open House

     We are asking that families return their registration forms prior to or on the first day of school.

     We will not be holding an in-person open house this year.

     Conferences will be conducted over Zoom in October



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