Milwaukee superintendent says 'students are actually learning' virtually

COVID-19 is temporarily halting in-person learning at some schools in southeast Wisconsin, including Whitefish Bay High School and Homestead High School in Mequon. 

Whitefish Bay High School

Students at Whitefish Bay High School switched to virtual learning Monday, Oct. 26, and will continue online learning through Oct. 28 "due to an increased number of COVID-19 close contact quarantines of high school staff," a letter to parents read. Six staff members went into quarantine.

Whitefish Bay School District officials said in the letter regarding the high school: "At this point in time, we do not have sufficient staffing to continue effective in-person learning operations."

"That's probably schools' biggest challenges -- when staff members need to be at home," said Henry Tyson, superintendent, St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee.

According to the letter, Whitefish Bay High School students will return to the blended in-person learning model on Nov. 2. 

 Homestead High School

In the meantime, in Mequon Homestead High School students will switch to "distance learning" beginning Tuesday, Oct. 27 as a result of 10 positive cases of COVID-19 among students within the last 24 hours.

Additionally, in a letter to parents, school officials said the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department is experiencing a delay in the notification of COVID-19 positive cases due to an outage for updates to the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

Based on those two factors, students will transition to distance learning through Monday, Nov. 2, at least, according to the letter to parents. 

Henry Tyson

At St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, leaders noted their virtual learning plans are not only working, they're effective.

"The assessments the students take tell us whether or not students are actually learning the material," said Superintendent Tyson. "Overall, we have been happy with the degree that students are learning."

Sixty percent of students remain in the classroom, where desks are socially distant and masks are required. Tyson said there have been a handful of positive coronavirus cases, but it hasn't prompted a move to all-virtual classes.

"There's been zero spread to date that we know of," he said. "No spread on the campuses."

District officials in other areas in southeast Wisconsin are taking their own unique steps to slow the spread of coronavirus.  

Last week, students in the School District of Waukesha moved back to four days a week of in-person learning at the high schools.  

Two weeks ago, the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District voted to pivot back to all virtual instruction until community COVID-19 cases decline.

 Tyson said it's up to all members of the community to help keep schools open:

"Be smart," he said. "Follow Milwaukee Health Department guidelines. Wear the mask. Limit your gatherings."

FOX6 News wanted how many schools across the state are utilizing virtual vs. in-person learning, but the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction said schools aren't required by law to report that information, so there's no easy way to track it.

Homestead High School students switch to ‘distance learning’ Oct. 27

Students will transition to distance learning through Monday, Nov. 2, at least, according to the letter to parents. 

Whitefish Bay High School shifts to virtual learning Monday

According to the letter, Whitefish Bay High School students will return to the blended in-person learning model on Nov. 2.