KENOSHA — Jeanne Hoffman, a staff member within the Kenosha Unified School district, believes she contracted COVID-19 while teaching in-person at school, and ultimately passed it along to her husband, who died from the virus on Sunday.
"She is incredibly heartbroken, as anyone could imagine," said Kenosha Education Association President, Tanya Kitts-Lewinski.
Tanya is a close friend of Jeanne Hoffman, and spoke on her friend’s behalf, who is too distraught over her husband’s recent death due to COVID-19.
"She wants to make sure this never happens to anyone else in our district," said Kitts-Lewinski.
Tanya says Jeanne’s husband was high-risk. But after using all of her medical leave, Tanya says Jeanne had to return to school for in-person learning, where she says she contracted the virus.
"Within a week and a half of reporting to work, Jeanne contracted COVID, which she then inadvertently passed on to both her mother and her husband. Although Jim fought really hard for 19 days, he did not make it through," said Kitts-Lewinski.
During a meeting of the Kenosha School Board Wednesday night, teachers and parents gave their opinions about the return to in-person learning next week. Among them was the executive director of the Kenosha Education Association, who shared a statement from Jeanne Hoffman.
"Returning to in person before it safe to do so will lead to occurrences of more of the same tragedy that has needlessly struck my family," read Kendra Koeppen-Mulwana.
Tanya says a return to in-person teaching right now just isn’t safe.
"Many educators are weighing their options right now. People who are pretty desperate have reached out to the district to ask what choices they have and they’re being told they can take unpaid leave," said Kitts-Lewinski.
The union claims another teacher, similar to Jeanne, also contracted COVID-19 in the classroom and passed it on to her husband, who died back in November. A district spokesperson released a statement that reads in part quote, “The district has always required anyone with COVID symptoms or a positive COVID test result to remain at home and We intend to continue with this practice going forward."