Racine in-person learning despite COVID concerns

School district leaders have been debating how to safely resume classes after the holiday break. The Racine Unified School District will move forward with in-person learning starting Wednesday, Jan. 5 despite concerns regarding further spread of COVID-19.

The decision came after a request from the Racine Educators United, calling on the district to shift to virtual learning in the short term amid a list of other requests. Like in nearby Kenosha, the district is moving forward with in-person learning.

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On the last day of their extended holiday break, the Racine Educators United sent a list of six requested changes to the district, hoping to make the return to classes safe.

"In-person learning, we know that's the most effective way for children to learn, but our concern is with the current explosion of COVID positivity rates in the community," said Angelina Cruz, Racine Educators United president.

The list includes a short-term return to virtual learning until case numbers decline, increased access to testing and vaccines and more.

"We want to ensure everyone's safety so that we can be in buildings with students as soon as possible and for as long as possible," said Cruz.

In a statement to FOX6 News, district leaders said the plan is to return to in-person classes Wednesday, saying: "We'll continue to utilize our safety protocol, including PPE for students and staff, and work together to keep our students and staff safe, healthy and in school learning."

On Monday, the Kenosha Unified School Board voted to expand virtual learning for elementary and middle school students after hearing from dozens of parents who urged them not to transition the entire district to virtual learning.

Still, some parents, like Dana Cruz, fear the change falls short, citing the stress her daughter feels in high school.

"She's concentrating more on staying healthy than actually being able to concentrate on her work at school," said Dana Cruz.

Kenosha's reopening of access to virtual learning officially begins Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, Racine Unified will continue to offer on-site testing at three schools while closely monitoring local COVID-19 metrics.

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