GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

UPDATE: School District of West De Pere board votes to move to in-person instruction on Monday

Coronavirus

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – The School District of West De Pere have reached a decision on returning to class this Monday.

After hosting a special school board meeting Saturday evening, the board have decided to continue to move to in-person instruction on Monday, October 19. The meeting, which began at 8 p.m., took about three hours- finally wrapping up just after 11 p.m.

West De Pere School District Superintendent, Dennis Krueger, shared in an email sent to families on Tuesday that district officials believed the amount of time spent learning remotely allowed for all individuals previously in quarantine to return to a “safe status.”

Based on this reasoning, Krueger said the district has decided to resume in-person learning while still abiding by the district’s mitigation strategies including wearing face-coverings in all school buildings, checking your family’s health at the start and end of each day, maintaining good hygiene, and engaging in social distancing practices.

Students originally enrolled in the remote option will continue in that model and students enrolled in the in-person learning option will be returning to that model on October 19.

A few teachers and parents turned out for Saturday night’s meeting to voice their opinions on the prospect of returning to class this Monday. While some were for the idea, others were a little more concerned over the potential risk.

“For months, our district has been asking the city health officials to come out with a statement or come out with some guidance about whether it was safe to be in person learning,” says Natalie Buhl, Teacher at West De Pere School. “Now, the city officials have come out with that guidance and I think we need to follow it.”

Co-curricular activities that had been previously scheduled, are said to continue with stringent mitigation strategies in place.

More details and the original story appears below.

School District of West De Pere to host special board meeting after local health department advises against in-person instruction

SATURDAY 10/17/2020 10:55 a.m.

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – The School District of West De Pere is scheduled to hold a Special School Board meeting on Saturday night in response to De Pere County Health Department’s statement reaffirming its position against in-person class instruction.

According to the De Pere County Health Department statement released on Friday evening, health officials cited high levels of coronavirus infections within Brown County and said it is not advisable for students to return to face-to-face instruction.

De Pere Mayor James Boyd shared his support for the health department’s stance with the following statement:

“To be clear, as a former educator and coach for decades in the City of De Pere, including having been a teacher during the pandemic at the end of last school year, I fully empathize with the ongoing challenges facing staff,” the mayor said in a statement. “These are difficult times, and I understand each of us longs for a sense of normalcy. However, we need to remain vigilant in stopping the spread of Covid-19. In-person instruction may post significant, unnecessary risk to our students and staff, their family members or guardians at home, and the local businesses and organizations they are involved in or support.”

Earlier this week, West De Pere schools announced their plans to return to in-person learning on October 19, after having transitioned to remote learning on October 1, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases within its community.

However, with the local health department’s advisory in place, the School District of West De Pere will be meeting at 8 p.m., on Saturday, to discuss whether or not students will be returning to face-to-face learning on Monday.

Local 5 News will follow this story and update it progresses.

On Thursday, Green Bay Area Catholic Education announced its schools will transition to virtual learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

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.

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.

The Oconto Unified School District and the Pulaski Community School District recently announced their transition to virtual learning.

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 Gillett School District has also announced it will transition to virtual learning, as will the School District of West De Pere.

On Friday, the Ashwaubenon School District announced it began remote learning on Thursday, Oct. 1, in response to COVID-19.

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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