Local school districts have not decided on county’s all virtual learning recommendation

Western Kenosha County school districts have not yet made a decision whether to follow advice from the Kenosha County Division of Health to hold virtual learning from Nov. 23 through Jan. 4.

On Monday, Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit said she is strongly recommending that all schools within the county — K-12, colleges and universities — switch to virtual instruction only between Nov. 23 and Jan. 4. The recommendation comes in the wake of mounting cases of COVID-19 here.

westofthei.com contacted all local school districts about their status regarding this recommendation. Here are the answers we received.

Wheatland Center School — District administrator Marty McGinley said: “We are monitoring local Wheatland data regarding quarantines and cases to find the best possible solution for Wheatland. We will be addressing it specifically at the November board meeting on the 18th.”

Salem School — District administrator Connie Valenza said the following communication was sent all school families: ” We wanted to be transparent and share with you that Kenosha County Health Officer, Dr. Jen Freiheit, “has issued a strong recommendation that all schools within the county — K-12, colleges and universities — switch to virtual instruction between Nov. 23 and Jan. 4.  In announcing this recommendation today, Freiheit noted the continuing upward trend of COVID-19 cases in Kenosha County, with no slowdown projected in the next 12 weeks.”  When the board made a decision to reopen our schools at the beginning of this school year, they required a comprehensive plan to protect our students and staff.  Our staff has been incredibly committed, students have been extremely cooperative, and parents very supportive.  As a result, we have been very successful in keeping our doors open to onsite learning for the majority of our students.  Dr. Freiheit has consistently acknowledged the hard work that has been done to protect our staff, school families, and community families.  While this is not a binding order, districts are urged to “give it serious consideration.”  I want to assure you that the Salem School District is very concerned about the health of our students and community.  It is also important to note that this is a recommendation, allowing for local decision-making.  I have asked our board to address this recommendation at the November 17th, 2020 Board Meeting.  They are caring, knowledgeable leaders and community members.  I believe they are best suited to consider all of the available information and speak for both our school and the community.  If you would like to share your thoughts on the Health Department’s recommendation with the board, we are asking you to submit your comments in writing. They will be shared with the board that evening.  Please make sure that the district receives your commentary by Monday, November 16th, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.  They may be hand delivered to the district office directed to the Board Secretary, Diane Degen, or submitted via email (degendia@salem.k12.wi.us). The Board Meeting will be livestreamed to interested community members at 7:00 p.m. on November 17th, 2020. The agenda will be posted by the end of the week.   Due to social distancing requirements, members of the public who would like to attend the meeting in person may view the livestream from the Large Group Instruction Room (LGI).  As I shared previously, thank you so much for your continued support as we continue to make tough decisions in the interest of the Salem School Community.

Brighton School — District administrator Matt Eggert said “That decision will be up to the Board of Education.  We will be discussing the topic this Wednesday.”

Central High School — District administrator John Gendron said “At this point, we will continue to watch our numbers and make a decision for the staff and students at Central High School.  Like the community, our numbers have increased over the last week, but our total positivity rate for students is less than 2% since September 1st. We are extremely proud our of Return to Central Plan and have worked extremely hard to keep our students in a face to face setting while providing a virtual option for families that choose this plan and for those required to be out of school for quarantine.  As of tonight, we have 6 current positive students and three positive staff members. My goal is to make a decision by mid next week on our plans for after Thanksgiving.”

Riverview School — District administrator Jon Schleusner said “Our Board has not had an opportunity to discuss or review the recommendation and will look to do so in the next 1-2 weeks.”

Wilmot Union High School — District administrator Dan Kopp said the school board will be addressing the situation at a special board meeting Wednesday.

Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated School — District administrator Michelle Garvin said “We have the following in place to discuss the recommendation: A special board meeting in place of our regular board committee meeting via zoom tonight, Nov. 10 at 6:00pm to review the Health Department’s Recommendation. Every Thursday, I send a message out to our parents and staff.  On the 2nd Thursday of every month, I also include a video update of our “Road to Return” for our parents and staff.  This Thursday, I will be sharing the Health Department’s Recommendation and asking parents and staff to complete a brief survey regarding the recommendation.  This data will provide information to the board for action on this recommendation. Our regular board meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 17 at 7:00pm, for board action on the recommendation. We have been very fortunate as we have only had one staff case of Covid-19 reported thus far, and no student cases reported.  We are very thankful to all our students, staff and families who have been working diligently to mitigate the spread of this virus while in our building.

Paris School — District administrator Roger Gahart said “The Board of Education would need to act on the recommendation to close our in-person teaching and learning.  Our next monthly Board meeting is on November 18.”

Randall School — District administrator Jeffrey Alstadt said “While the KCDOH does not have the authority to issue such an order, Randall will seriously consider the recommendation. The Randall 2nd Phase Return to School Committee will be meeting this Wednesday as scheduled. The Committee will have a recommendation for the Randall School board at the board meeting on November 18th. Our students will be returning for in-person instruction on November 19th as planned.”


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