GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

West De Pere school district to transition to remote learning on Oct. 1

Coronavirus

WEST DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – The School District of West De Pere joins the growing list of Northeast Wisconsin school districts to transition to virtual learning in response to COVID-19.

According to a letter shared with families and staff, the transition to remote learning will begin on October 1. Officials say they hope to return to in-person learning on October 19, but add that this is “dependent on our community health situation which impacts the success of both our mitigation plans and school operations.”

“We couldn’t be more proud of our students, staff, and families as we have experienced a very positive first month of school. We were able to safely provide students with exceptional experiences and witnessed extraordinary behaviors from our beloved students. We will continue our commitment to students and families as we navigate our way through this pandemic,” says Superintendent Dennis Krueger.

“We are deeply saddened by our need to change course at this time.  It is believed that due to unsafe behaviors within the greater community, the community is experiencing an exponential spread of COVID-19.  Because of this, we are also finding it difficult to maintain adequate staffing levels within the School District of West De Pere.  Local health care leaders have stated that ‘not a single instance of community spread has been due to schools being open.’  Rather, it is the spread of the virus outside our schools that is putting the safety of students and staff at risk. We believe that schools can be a very safe place for our children, however, guidance from our local healthcare leaders makes it clear that even exceptional COVID-19 mitigation plans in schools will not withstand the levels of spread we continue to see in our communities. Additionally, hospitals are nearing capacity and emergency departments are continuing to experience overcrowding.”

Krueger goes on to say that the district hopes those in the community will work together to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“We need everyone’s help in returning to in-person learning.  Please continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands, and remain home when sick.”

All co-curricular activities will be canceled during this time starting on Thursday, October 1.

The School District of West De Pere has already had its challenges with COVID-19.

In early September, a Hemlock Creek student tested positive for COVID-19. Less than two weeks later, another student tested positive for the virus.

On September 21, the district announced Hemlock Creek would transition to remote learning “due to an increase in absences due to COVID-19.”

Last week, many Northeast Wisconsin school districts announced they would transition to remote learning.

On Friday, the Ashwaubenon School District announced it will transition to 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 says they will transition 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.

All schools within the Oshkosh Area School District have transitioned to virtual learning in response to the spread of COVID-19.

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