Students at 7 Kenosha schools go virtual after 276 teacher absences

Seven schools within the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) are switching to virtual learning this week -- after nearly 300 staff members were absent from work on Monday, Sept. 21. 

Schools that have gone virtual in KUSD

Lincoln Middle School is among the schools that had to abruptly move all in-person instruction online. This, after the district learned late Sunday night that hundreds of teachers would not be showing up for class.

Amanda Nedweski's son was among the Indian Trail High School students impacted.

"It was very frustrating to have to sit and wait through all of the technical glitches," Nedweski said. "It wasn't until 10 p.m. last night, when he had all of his things laid out, assignments ready to go, ready to start the week, I had to let him know we won't be rushing out there door early in the morning for school."

Amanda Nedweski

Amanda Nedweski

The switch comes just one week into the start of the school year -- a year in which students were able to choose if they want to attend on-campus or online.

The teachers union, the Kenosha Educators Association (KEA), has been calling for schools to close -- citing safety concerns. KEA has not commented on Monday's absences.

Indian Trail High School, Kenosha

Indian Trail High School, Kenosha

The district said there are ten positive cases of COVID-19 in the district right now -- that include seven students and three staff members. 

Nedweski urges both sides to find a compromise that does not come at the expense of the students.

"We know that for many people, it`s a nervous situation. And it`s not without disregard. But we really feel strongly that the negative impacts of school closures, unrelated to coronavirus are much more risky for our students and our youth of this community," Nedweski said.

Indian Trail High School in Kenosha

Indian Trail High School in Kenosha

A district spokeswoman said substitutes will cover 43% of the positions, while the other 57% will be covered either by combining classes or repurposing certified staff from other areas. Officials said instruction at the seven affected schools will remain virtual through Friday.

The Kenosha Education Association released the following statement:

"We are sympathetic to the inconvenience this has undoubtedly caused families. We also know educators in this community are deeply distressed by being forced to enter unsafe buildings that put our students, themselves, and the community at risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19."

The following is a statement released from a KUSD spokeswoman late Sunday:

"Good evening, KUSD families

"We genuinely apologize for this very late communication. Due to a surge of employee absences being reported for tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 21, we must move Bradford, Harborside, Indian Trail, LakeView, Lincoln, Reuther and Tremper to virtual learning for the upcoming week due to a lack of coverage for in-person learning.

"Students at each of these schools will be expected to log in for classes at their scheduled time from Monday, Sept. 21, through Friday, Sept. 25, in order to be marked present.

"Again, we apologize for this late notice and for the inconvenience this may cause our families."

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