COVID-19 increases cause Kewaunee schools to go to all virtual classes
The Kewaunee School District became the latest in Wisconsin to implement all virtual learning after a growing wave of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus in the past week.
This comes after the number of cases among students increased from three to 12 in the last couple days of last week, according to a letter sent to parents of Kewaunee students, and cases among staff rose from three to five, along with seven staffers in quarantine as of Monday.
Also, a second teacher and a support staff member in the Luxemburg-Casco School District tested positive last week, which sent a total of 64 students in three primary school classes into quarantine.
Initially in Kewaunee, two groups of students in the district — one second-grade classroom and one group of high schoolers who are together for the same period — were quarantined after the three students and three staff members tested positive, which led some community members to ask why the situation wasn't made public.
The increase in positive tests among students and staff members, along with a significant surge in cases across the general population of Kewaunee County, caused the Kewaunee school district to switch to its virtual learning model for at least two weeks, starting Sept. 21 and running through Oct. 2.
As of Monday afternoon, the county has 131 active cases, more than doubling the number the Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported six days before (65). The total number of positive tests in the county increased by 114 in that span, from 290 to 404.
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The letter sent to the parents said the district hopes to temporarily implement a mix of in-person and remote classes starting Oct. 5, but that will depend on where are the COVID-19 numbers at that time, both within the district and across the county. The district consulted with Public Health Department director Cindy Kinnard and Dr. Kristen Powell, the district's medical director, to make its decisions.
"There are specific metrics that assist us in determining the learning model that should be in place district-wide," the letter said. "Due to the amount of spread occurring in Kewaunee County and the impact to our students, staff and families, we believe the most prudent decision is to go back into virtual learning.
"As COVID-19 exposure continues to impact learning at the classroom, grade, school or district level, this decision to transition to (all virtual learning) is based on data, staffing availability and student and staff safety. Bottom line, today’s decision is based on the most current information that is available to the district."
"Classrooms are busy places," Karen Treml, superintendent of the Kewaunee district, said in an interview with the Star-News last week after the initial quarantines. "We're going to err on the side of caution."
The letter noted that teachers will continue to work from their school buildings unless they're under quarantine and arrange online meetings to converse with their students. All athletic practices and games are suspended, but meal service will continue to be provided.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: COVID-19 increases cause Kewaunee schools to go to all virtual classes