NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – All schools in the Neenah Joint School District will transition to virtual learning until at least mid-October as the Fox Valley area continues to see a large community spread of coronavirus.
According to a Friday release, schools will begin virtual learning on Monday, Oct. 5 and continue online until at least Friday, Oct. 16.
“This decision is primarily driven by community positivity rates, which are currently among the highest in the country. The student absenteeism rate at most schools is also above the threshold established for keeping schools open. Staff absenteeism has fluctuated throughout the first month, but there have been challenges in providing enough substitute coverage in buildings on a daily basis,” district officials say.
The Neenah Joint School District says that if school and community data improves by Oct. 15, a decision will be made on whether students can return to full in-person or hybrid learning.
“We have worked hard to keep schools open to this point and thank those who have taken the necessary precautions to help make this happen,” Superintendent Dr. Mary Pfeiffer says. “However, we continue to hear about events and gatherings continuing to take place in our community. We need to take this seriously and practice smart and safe behaviors while encouraging friends and neighbors to do the same. Collectively, if we can reduce the spread of this virus in our community, hopefully we will be in a position to return to the classroom in the near future.”
This announcement comes after Fox Valley public health officers issued a Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Alert in response to an increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.
Many school districts across Northeast Wisconsin have transitioned to virtual learning in light of the continuing spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, Green Bay Area Catholic Education announced its schools will transition to virtual learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Notre Dame Academy shared a letter with families on Monday, saying the move is in response to “health and safety circumstances surrounding COVID-19 in the Green Bay area.” Virtual learning began on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
The Denmark School District announced its transition to virtual learning in response to new and increasing cases of COVID-19 Monday afternoon. According to a letter shared with families, there are 20 staff members out due to close contact quarantines or positive cases. Student absences have risen above 200.
On Friday, the Ashwaubenon School District announced it began remote learning on Thursday, Oct. 1, in response to COVID-19.
According to a letter shared with families, the decision was based on many factors, “including the significant community spread of COVID-19, local hospitals being burdened by critical numbers of hospitalizations, and the overall safety of our students, staff and community members.”
Across Northeast Wisconsin, Crivitz School District has also announced a transition to virtual learning due to staffing shortages created by mandatory quarantining for staff.
The Howard-Suamico School District began online learning on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Virtual learning will remain in place “until community health conditions improve.”
The Unified School District of De Pere also announced the transition “due to new cases of COVID-19” and “the resulting need to quarantine a large number of students and staff.” The decision was also based on local hospitals reporting that they have reached a critical stage with the number of hospitalizations they are experiencing.
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