Nearly 1,000 Waukesha students in quarantine

Nearly 1,000 students in the School District of Waukesha are in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. At Waukesha South High School, an outbreak prompted the entire building to shift to all-virtual learning this week.

That nearly 1,000 students in quarantine is out of 12,000 total students across the district. Some schools, though, are impacted more than others.
FOX6 News told you about an outbreak last week here at South High School. This week, South became one of three schools to go all-virtual as a precaution.

A critical week for the School District of Waukesha as nearly 1,000 students are listed in quarantine as the coronavirus continues to disrupt the classroom.

"Obviously, I think those numbers are higher than anybody would like to see, but I don’t think they are out of the range of what we had anticipated this year," said Deputy Superintendent Joe Koch.

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Koch said South High School, Prairie Elementary and Hadfield Elementary had to shift to all-virtual learning this week.

"We were seeing at one school that the cases weren’t going down," said Koch. "We were seeing at another school a significant number of the staff were impacted.”

Nearly 100 staff members district-wide are also in quarantine.  Koch said even if some teachers test positive for COVID-19, some are still able to teach virtually from home, while students sit in the classroom.

"We have adult supervision in the classroom," said Koch. "Principals are stepping in, instructional assistants are stepping in.”

Maintaining high-quality education during the pandemic is the priority of all schools, and also the focus of an online discussion held in Milwaukee Wednesday.  MPS, MATC and UWM joined to discuss the challenges educators face.

“I truly think the pivot back and forth has made us a stronger organization because of it," said a participant.

Back in Waukesha, Koch said only seven cases were transmitted by student-to-student exposure.  In a few situations, Koch said parents knowingly sent positive students to school.  To help minimize disruption to the normal school day, he said all members of the community have to pitch in.

"Of all the kids who have been quarantined, we are not seeing a ton of positive cases linked back to school," said Koch. “I think the message would be to follow the guidelines that have been put out there by the CDC to try and prevent the spread of infection.”

South High School will be back in the classroom on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Mondays remain the only all-virtual day for students at the high school level.
That could change Nov. 11 when the Board of Education is set to reevaluate the district’s coronavirus plans.