Schools revisit learning models due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:12:21-05

Multiple school districts are again deciding between in-person or virtual learning models due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Wisconsin.

During a school board meeting on Monday night in Greenfield, parents and students expressed contrasting concerns about learning during the pandemic.

"These teachers aren't getting an opportunity to get to know the children. They just can't tell when one of my kids is struggling with writing because they're not there," said one mother.

"If I'd be putting myself along with those I live with at-risk I'd be willing to sacrifice and continue learning with virtual school," wrote one high school senior.

The School District of Greenfield dashboard showed as of Nov. 10, 2020, among students and staff there are 18 positive cases and 286 in quarantine.

The board held off on any action meaning the middle and high schools in Greenfield will remain virtual.

"My personal observation tonight is that it's not a good time to talk about opening the middle and high schools," said one school board member.

Numbers are trending in the wrong direction across the region.

Burlington Area School District announced it will pivot to virtual learning on Wednesday until Nov. 30.

Franklin High School moved to virtual learning on Tuesday and will remain virtual for the next two weeks.

"We’re trying to take drastic measures now and proactively because our hospitalization rates keep inching up. While they are not at a critical capacity yet we’re very concerned that they will be," said Kenosha County Health Officer Jen Freiheit.

Freiheit is recommending all schools in the county switch to complete virtual instruction between November 23-January 4.

She cited the switch would allow for a decrease in community gathering and movement for 6 weeks or three COVID-19 incubation periods.

Freiheit said some schools have already agreed.

"This wasn’t a punitive or targeted at school thing. We’re working on businesses. We're working on everybody else as well too. This wasn’t just about the schools but they really are our largest gathering places," said Freiheit.

Freiheit noted they do not have the legal authority to order and enforce their recommendation. However, they are pleading with the community to push through pandemic fatigue and help slow the virus' spread.

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