Waukesha South sees COVID-19 outbreak; 100+ students in quarantine

During spirit week at Waukesha South High School, a large number of students aren't celebrating because they're in quarantine. Coronavirus numbers have been fluctuating throughout the district, but the largest concentration as of Wednesday, Oct. 21 is at Waukesha South High School.

"The number of cases have been up and down a little bit at a couple of our schools," said Superintendent Jim Sebert, School District of Waukesha.

The School District of Waukesha's COVID-19 dashboard Wednesday showed an outbreak at South High School. As of Wednesday morning, 15 students were listed as being positive for the virus, with 129 in quarantine.  Superintendent Sebert said those numbers fluctuated by Wednesday afternoon, with nine listed as positive and 132 in quarantine.

"We've had some kids that have been able to come back to school," said Sebert. "Those numbers have fallen off."

Superintendent Jim Sebert, School District of Waukesha.

Superintendent Jim Sebert, School District of Waukesha

The spike comes as the school district moved to a new hybrid model on Monday, Oct. 19 for high school students.  Mondays are virtual learning days, while the remaining four days during the week are in-person.  

"The numbers at South were ticking up over the past week, even when we were in the previous hybrid model," said Sebert.

Drive-thru testing with the Wisconsin National Guard continued Wednesday at the Waukesha County Expo Center, with data showing the county recently notched the 10,000th COVID-19 case since the pandemic began.  As of Wednesday morning, hospitalizations were down, but the percentage of positive tests throughout the last week remained high, at 16.5%.  Sebert said the vast majority of the district's cases come from transmissions outside of school.

Waukesha South High School

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"We continue to do temperature checks in all our buildings," said Sebert. "We do our mitigation strategies of masks. Our teachers also wear face shields or goggles to give extra protection."

The Waukesha Board of Education will meet Nov. 11 to look at coronavirus trends since moving to four-days of in-person learning.  The board will determine at that time whether to adjust the weekly schedule any further.

When the school year began on Sept. 1, high school students attended classes virtually on Mondays and alternated between in-person and virtual the rest of the week, spending only two days in the building.