By Shereen Siewert

Middle and high school students in the Wausau School District will return to the classroom on March 1, ending the alternate week schedule in place since November.

The Wausau School Board on Monday approved the proposal by a 5-4 vote after a discussion on declining student achievement in the district, which saw a dramatic increase in “F” grades since schools went virtual. Student mental health has also been an issue in the district, officials said.

Wausau began the 2020-2021 school year fully virtual but moved elementary students back to the classroom three months ago.

Secondary students who wish to remain virtual can still choose that option.

Students returning to the classroom will attend in-person classes Monday through Thursday every week.

In-person instruction continues to be a hot button issue nationwide, with districts sharply divided on best practices. But the CDC is recommending in-person learning for students, provided safety measures are widely embraced.