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Reopening La Crosse schools pushed back as COVID-19 cases rise in county

Rick Solem

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After announcing last week that elementary students would be back in the classroom Monday, the School District of La Crosse has had to pull that decision back.

The district announced Wednesday all students will continue virtual learning through at least Nov. 8.

This is the fifth time the district has pushed back re-opening classrooms since the decision in August to postpone opening through September.

“We are going to continue to examine the science and look for models that would allow us to mitigate the risk enough to begin in-person learning, particularly at the lower elementary grades, even if case rates remain at elevated levels,” read part of a statement from the district.

The district is trying to project reopening two weeks out. Also, they want students and faculty to be able safely be in the classrooms for at least two weeks.

“Our goal is to create some stability,” La Crosse Schools superintendent, Dr. Aaron Engel said last week on La Crosse Talk PM. “It takes us a little while to switch our transportation, to change our food service program, to establish special education and our parents need some notice to be able to arrange child care if things change, as well.”

The data La Crosse Schools is using shows the case rate the past week at 28.8 a day per 100,000, which puts it in the red status for reopening. None of the metrics the district are using are in green.

La Crosse County has had 149 COVID-19 cases the past three days. Total hospitalizations of county residents over that span have gone from 118 to 127.

“We know this decision will greatly disappoint some families,” read more from the statement. “We know some families will feel immense relief. We are acutely aware of the struggles of some of our students to learn through virtual learning. We are aware of the financial difficulties virtual learning has placed on some of our families. We want to return to in-person learning too; we know that is where most of our students learn best. We too are concerned about the health and learning of our students now and in the future.”


BELOW: Along with talking with Engel, Viterbo’s Ted Wilson was also on La Crosse Talk PM that day, to talk “lady bugs.”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse