Oak Creek-Franklin schools to begin 2020-21 year virtually; return to in-person learning possible

The Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District will start the 2020-21 school year online following a school board vote on Thursday evening, Aug. 13.

The district will start tracking coronavirus data beginning Friday, Aug. 14, and try to hit benchmarks for a potential reopening. If there are two weeks in drops of the percent-positive number of cases, face-to-face learning can resume. Parents, however, can still opt for their students to go all-virtual if they choose.

Thursday's board meeting was held virtually as parents socially distanced in the Oak Creek High School cafeteria to give public comments.

"The teachers have a job to do, if they opt-out, maybe we should relinquish their salary and give it back to the hardworking taxpayers of Oak Creek," said district parent Jennifer Latus.

School leaders started the meeting with a COVID-19 summer recap -- citing a huge spike in cases after the Fourth of July. The area has not recovered from that spike yet. According to the most recent data, 9.6% of COVID-19 tests are positive.

"Of ourse, they miss being with friends, clubs, band and other activities," said Ellen Moon, a district parent. 

Moon's son has Down syndrome, and wants a return to face-to-face learning.

"Regression is typical over summer months, but it's getting to the point of serious worry for myself and other parents I've spoken with," Moon said.

The school board is implementing a phased approach to the upcoming school year. The earliest the district could be back to face-to-face instruction is Oct. 1, if the data deem a reopening fit. The school year will start, virtually, on Sept. 1.