LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WKBT) – With the increase in COVID-19 cases, schools are paying the price. La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools are on hold in person learning from tomorrow until next week.
In La Crosse, Logan College was closed for face-to-face teaching in favor of asynchronous classes Thursday and Friday. A combination of increasing cases and low supply teacher numbers are straining schools in the region.
Superintendent Aaron Engel said logan’s temporary shutdown was a last resort.
âOver the past two months, we have averaged around 100 staff absences per day,â Engel said. âAnd on average, we managed to fill between 60 and 80% of them. So we had unfulfilled absences every day of the school year.
At the Onalaska School District, Superintendent Todd Antony says they are feeling this tension.
âHaving to take – thinking about making the decision to go virtual again here is like a last resort, the worst-case scenario,â said Antony.
Across the region, other staff members had to compensate for absences. But most schools have been able to avoid going virtual so far.
âWe’ve been on the brink since we came back from breaking up with a number of our schools,â Engel said.
Engel told me that in this case, Logan Middle School did not have enough teachers, or blanket, to babysit these children in person.
âWe sent the children home because we didn’t think we could supervise them properly, which is a safety issue,â Engel said.
Jennifer Olson, mother-of-one from Logan Middle, worries about the future.
âIt’s a little frustrating because I just don’t know what’s going to happen. Will they be able to go back to school on Monday? Are two days enough for them to find replacements? Will it work next week? What if that happens at the end of next week? Said Olson.
As the month progresses, district leaders hope the end is in sight. Engel says the district is developing a plan to meet the needs of students in person, even with high levels of unmet absences.
âOver the next three to four weeks it will be a daily struggle to staff our buildings. We just hope everyone can do what they can to help by limiting the spread, âEngel said.
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