MILWAUKEE — With growing concerns after a Wisconsin teacher died from COVID-19, some local teachers unions are speaking out, saying something must be done to keep staffers safer.
“We continue to say no public educator or student should be required to risk their or their families lives during a pandemic in a state where we are putting up record numbers everyday," said Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association President Amy Mizialko.
The frustration is felt from the MTEA president who continues to push to end face-to-face teaching in Wisconsin during the pandemic. That call has intensified since a Green Bay-area teacher, Heidi Hussli, died after contracting the virus. She was 47.
“We can’t allow this to happen to one more person. One more educator in the state of Wisconsin," Mizialko said.
Throughout Wisconsin, teachers mourn a colleague they said shouldn't have died so young. Some said it's an example of why they say many of them are afraid to return to in-person class settings.
“Every educator wants to be in school with their students. They just want to do it safely," said Tanya Kitts-Lewinski, president of the Kenosha Education Association.
Kitts-Lewinski believes now isn't the time for in-person classes; which the Kenosha Unified School District had already re-started.
“Educators are in tears. Educators are saying this in unsustainable," Kitts-Lewinski said.
At Milwaukee Public Schools, only staff members and teachers are allowed in school buildings as they teach virtually.
Dr. Keith Posley says a return to class is contingent on science and declining infection rates - opposite of what we're seeing now in the state.
“How close are we to trickling students back into classrooms? A: one thing we’re looking forward to is the rate of infection and the rate of infection has been going up each day," Posley said.
Mizialko said she will continue pushing for Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to mandate virtual-only classes in Wisconsin during the pandemic.