Franklin High School parents speak out in first board meeting since switching to virtual learning

Posted at 8:54 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 09:58:36-05

FRANKLIN, WI — Parents within the Franklin Public School District spoke on both sides of the COVID-19 debate Wednesday. This discussion came after Franklin High School puts the brakes on extra-curricular activities.

The district cites an order from the City of Franklin’s Health Department as the reason for the decision to go virtual. The health department, in turn, cited a surge in positive COVID-19 cases at Franklin High School, specifically.

“We have no answer why football was dropped on Saturday,” said parent Karen Hartje, whose son plays football for Franklin High School.

Wednesday's school board meeting fostered a healthy debate regarding the issue.

“If two weeks mean flattening the curve. Then why can’t we do this for the common good,” Mary Yank, a concerned Franklin resident said.

All of the debating was on behalf of students within the Franklin Public School District. Some parents pushing for a return to in-person learning during critical development years while others hoping to stay home, virtual, and away from COVID-19.

“They’re 2,3,7 and 9. And these developmental years are important to them,” said Matt Wied, a parent who wants his kids in-class.

The first public board meeting since the district stopped in-person learning at Franklin High School on Nov. 9 also, the first since the city’s health department ordered the district to pause all extra-curricular activities.

“We attribute this spike in the school to the community spread,” said District Administrator Dr. Judy Miller.

The district and health department both sent out notices this week about the Franklin High cases. The district noting 18 new positive COVID-19 cases in several days leading up to Tuesday, when their notice was sent out to parents.

“If the numbers bear it, they gotta do what they gotta do,” said parent Bill Mackay who said the district is doing what it needs to. but understands the concern from other parents. “I don’t know, they’re in a tough spot. What do you do?"

The district says the order will stay in place during the remainder of the virtual learning period. Its goal is to reduce its positive percentage rate to less than two percent over the course of a two-week period.

The Franklin Health Department and school district worked out an expectation for four of its swimmers to finish state qualifiers due to lower risk, so long as they follow strict guidelines.

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